For my independent project I was stuck between two ideas: testing addictions on flies and testing how certain substances affect female fertility and embryonic development. After contemplating each idea, I decided to combine them. The question I ended up creating tests if fenugreek, a natural remedy, can ameliorate the negative impact of caffeine on fertility. Among the top ten addictions in the United States is coffee. Did you know that an average American drinks 3 cups of coffee each day? A 8-oz cup of coffee contains 95 mg of caffeine, so 3 cups of coffee contains 285 mg of caffeine which is almost 75% of a lethal dose (400 mg) of caffeine! When I was researching, I read that caffeine consumption above 200 mg during pregnancy could potentially lead to birth defects in the child. On the flip side, fenugreek is a natural herbal remedy that is traditionally used to increase fertility. I decided to test a natural remedy rather than a medication because it’s a part of my culture and I wanted to incorporate a part of myself into my research. In the Indian culture we use a variety of spices in our foods and many of which have tremendous health benefits, like turmeric and fenugreek.
To test whether fenugreek will lessen the harmful impact of caffeine on fertility and development, I will use the female fertility assay. The female fertility assay quantifies the number of embryos laid per female and the percent of embryos that hatch into larvae. Comparing these results with the control will tell me how each substance or combination of substances impacts the beginning of the life cycle. I hypothesized that the effects of caffeine wouldn’t completely vanish, but the addition of fenugreek into the diet will lessen the extent to which caffeine decreases oogenesis and embryogenesis. If my hypothesis is correct, the caffeine+fenugreek experimental group should lay less embryos per female and a fewer percent of embryos should hatch than that of the control.
Who knows what my research will hold for me and how the results will come out? I can’t wait to get started on my independent project, conquer my failures, and learn a lot throughout the next twelve weeks! Stay tuned for the results!