Morphological traits for organisms result from the concerted action of numerous genes that are interconnected into a gene network at the level of transcriptional regulation. In each network, transcription factors control the spatial, temporal, and even sex-specific patterns of gene transcription. To better understand how a gene network operates during development, I investigated the network controlling a male-specific pattern of Drosophila melanogaster abdominal pigmentation. Using RNA interference, I reduced the expression of 558 transcription factor genes to identify those needed for normal pigmentation by the occurrence of aberrant pigmentation patterns. From this, I identified 28 genes, which include several that are known to play major roles in establishing animal body plans and that regulate chromatin structure. With this new wealth of known network genes and the diversity of pigmentation patterns among fruit fly species, my thesis supports future studies into the gene network basis for trait development and evolution.
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Biology | Life Sciences
Stringer, Samantha, "Determining the Transcription Factor Genes Populating a Fruit Fly Pigmentation Gene Network and Their Regulatory Connections" (2014). Honors Theses. 9.