PAX9 gene variations associated with number of wisdom teeth

Kamehameha High School Kapalama, Honors Science Research, 2011-2012

In this investigation, the functions of the PAX 9 gene were studied to find a relationship between the four exons of the gene and wisdom tooth occurrence. PAX 9 is a gene that is related to skeletal and molar formation, and mutations in this gene have caused dental agenesis. Wisdom teeth are the third molars, and do not show up in about 20% of the population. 16 DNA samples were taken from different people, by taking cheek cells and extracting their DNA. Exons of the PAX 9 gene were amplified using PCR for the 16 sequences, and then were sequenced and compared to find single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). From this investigation, PAX 9 exon 3 probably does not code for wisdom teeth, but other exons have not been sequenced, and can be studied for SNPs that show up in individuals who are missing wisdom teeth. It was also found that people of Japanese descent had more variability in the number of wisdom teeth which they had. Different DNA prep kits were also compared and it was found that the Qiagen kit created DNA extracts of highest purity. Chelex, created DNA extracts of lower purity that would degrade faster.