The fact that the most complex human disorders cannot be explained by mutations in single genes complicates the effort to study the relationship between a given phenotype and the underlying genotype. Therefore, it is important to take into consideration that an observed phenotype could be the result of interactions between two or more genetic variants, a phenomenon known as genetic interaction. Moreover, studying genetic interactions is expected to expand the understanding of the functional relationships between genes. In particular, it serves the identification of functional links between genes that are associated with the same biological process.
Using zebrafish as an animal model, I aim to study genetic interactions between genes that have been identified in our department to be involved in thymus and T cell development. The identification of genetic interactions between those genes will help dissect the molecular pathway(s) underlying thymus development and lymphopoiesis in vertebrates.