Devon Matthew Seibert, Ashley Violet Williams


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



Download Project (4.4 MB)


The coordinated expressions of trait building, realizator, genes in the appropriate cell types and developmental stages are two impressive outcomes of the genetic and molecular mechanisms of morphological evolution. For each realizator gene, its pattern of expression is anticipated to result from the interaction of a combination of transcription factors to binding sites within one or more cis-regulatory element (CRE). A question that remains murky is to what extent these similar patterns of realizator expression require their CREs to be bound by similar combinations of transcription factors. One model trait that may shed light on this question is the sexually dimorphic pattern abdomen pigmentation that evolved in the lineage of Drosophila (D.) melanogaster fruit flies. This male-specific pattern of melanic pigmentation on the posterior abdomen results from the spatial-, temporal-, and sex-specific deployment of a pathway of metabolic genes. While the CREs for several of these pathway genes have been well-studied, the biochemically first acting gene, known as pale, has received little attention. Here, we will share insights from studies on the regulation of the D. melanogaster pale gene and how this regulation and pale expression evolved during the origin and diversification of this pigmentation trait.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Tom M. Williams

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Institutional Learning Goals

Scholarship; Practical Wisdom; Vocation

The regulation of the Drosophila melanogaster pale gene and its evolution during the origin of a dimorphic pigmentation trait