Studying the Effects of Electronic Cigarette Exposure on DNA Mutation and Repair in Tetrahymena thermophila
The purpose of our experiment was to answer the question: Does exposure to aerosols expelled from an electronic cigarette affect the APN2 gene expression in Tetrahymena thermophila? It was hypothesized that the expression of APN2 would increase in Tetrahymena that were exposed to aerosol from a vape and that their growth rate would decrease. The mechanism and function of the APN2 gene is known as base excision repair. To test the hypothesis, Tetrahymena were randomly assigned to either a control group or a test group. A contraption was created to extract 12mL of aerosol from a Smok Baby Beast vape device. Three puffs (12mLs each) of the extracted aerosol was administered to the Tetrahymena in the experimental group. The control group were left untreated. Both cultures were plated on the same SPP media and cultured in ideal conditions for 48 hours. During the 48-hr time-period, the Tetrahymena were counted twice a day to determine the rate of growth. Concluding the 48-hr treatment period, RNA was extracted from the control and experimental groups. Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain (RT-PCR) was performed on the extracted RNA, followed by gel electrophoresis and Quantitative analysis of APN2 expression. It was predicted that the exposure to vape aerosol would damage DNA resulting in a decreased growth rate and an increased expression of APN2 in the Tetrahymena cultures.