Emily Barbara Daniel, Joseph Becker Kash, Devon Matthew Seibert, Rachel M. Stanojev


Presentation: 10:45-12:00, Kennedy Union Ballroom



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Gene Regulatory Networks (GRNs) control the orchestrated spatial and temporal gene expression patterns responsible for trait development. The gain, modification, and deconstruction of GRNs logically must be major causes of trait evolution. Despite this perceived importance, the evolution of few if any traits is thoroughly understood at the scale of a GRN. This shortcoming has several causes. One is the difficulty of finding the breadth of GRN transcription factors and mapping these to their binding sites in cis-regulatory sequences of their downstream realizator genes. Another is the need for GRN studies to occur in experimentally tractable species for closely related species that possess ancestral, modified, and secondarily lost phenotypes. One suitable model trait is the gain, modification, and loss of sexually dimorphic abdomen pigmentation in the lineage of Drosophila melanogaster and its close relatives. We will share updates from our genetic, genomic, and biochemical studies that are mapping the regulatory connections between the key transcription factors of a pigmentation GRN and their realizator genes that comprise a pigment metabolic pathway. Findings will also be shared from genome sequence comparisons teasing out how this GRN has evolved at the level of transcription factor binding sites.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Tom M. Williams

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Institutional Learning Goals

Scholarship; Practical Wisdom; Vocation

Connecting the trans-regulators of an evo-devo trait to their direct target genes through genetic, genomic, and biochemical approaches