Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs), are caused by maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy [3]. FASD encompasses a wide variety of cardiac and neural anomalies, while also associated with improper limb development, abnormal craniofacial features, problems within the central nervous system (CNS), and disabilities in learning and communication. Gene-regulating FASDs have not been well studied during the crucial phases of early embryonic development. Genes within the Wnt/Beta-catenin pathway control a vast amount of embryonic developmental processes. Among them is the Wnt7a gene, a significant downstream gene regulator which positively controls neural stem cell proliferation and cardiomyocyte differentiation on a large scale during early embryonic development. This project will serve to provide potential insight into the genes involved in FASD. We hypothesize that ethanol administration to early embryonic mice will suppress Wnt7a expression in the heart and brain, leading to FASD development. RNA-sequencing (RNA-Seq) and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) were used to measure Wnt7a gene expression within the early embryonic mouse heart and brain. After evaluation of RNA-Seq data and a comparative analysis using the 2-ΔΔCTmethod, it is evident Wnt7a is present in embryonic mouse age E10.5 heart and brain samples, and Wnt7a is suppressed at age E10.5 in embryonic mouse heart, but not brain, when induced with ethanol.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Ebert, Steven


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Medicine


Biomedical Sciences

Degree Program

Biomedical Sciences



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date