Biology 173: Fly genetics

Fly Genetics: Using Drosophila to study cell signaling pathways


Instrutors: Prof. Ken Cadigan and Prof. Hilary Archbold

Time: Lecture: Friday 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Labs: Wednesday 2:00 – 5:00 pm, Thursday 2:00 – 5:00 pm

Not offered in Fall 2019 


Wnt/β-catenin pathway is an evolutionarily conserved cell-cell signaling cascade that plays many important roles in the specification of cell fate during animal development.  Wnt signaling is also required for maintenance of many stem cell populations in adult animals, and misregulation of the pathway occurs in several human cancers.  The molecular machinery of the Wnt pathway is quite complex and mysterious, and despite intensive investigation, new regulators of this signaling cascade continue to be identified.

The goal of this course is to integrate students into an ongoing genetic screen for novel Wnt regulators using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster as a model system.  Students will learn the basics of Drosophila husbandry, how to mobilize transposable elements, and score developmental phenotypes.  In addition, students will help characterize previously identified “hits” from the screen at the molecular level, using PCR, DNA sequencing and bioinformatics.