Catena, Amanda M. (2009-05). Physiological Ageing as it is Related to Gene Function in the Lone Star Tick, Amblyomma americanum. Master's Thesis.
With advances in molecular technology, the study of human ageing has turned to DNA for answers as to how humans age. Due to the size of the human genome and the longevity of humans, organisms with smaller genomes and shorter lifespans have frequently been the center of research studies in ageing. Studies of Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, yeast, and mice have uncovered specific genes that up and down regulate with age and stress. Research has yet to produce, however, results from an organism known for its longevity. Amblyomma americanum is an excellent candidate for this, as it can survive for years unfed. Two groups of 75 unfed adult A. americanum were monitored in a control environment of 85% relative humidity and an experimental environment designed to induce physiological stress at 75% relative humidity. Five ticks were tested for transcript abundance of five candidate ageing genes initially and at the 25th, 75th, and 95th percent mortality. These tests provided evidence that Amblyomma americanum undergoes changes in gene expression with age on a genetic level.