Artwork shows a vision conjured via ouija board by a fruit fly and a larvae. The scene includes a jack-o-lantern ghost, an ecdysteroid molecular structure, a pirate ship, and rainbow.

Fruit fly mutants can sometimes be grisly. Ecdysteroid hormones control aspects of fly development, including molting and metamorphosis; because aberrations in these genes lead to embryos with a ghastly appearance, they have been collectively dubbed “Halloween genes.” In a study published in GENETICS, Uryu et al. investigated how the expression of these genes is regulated. Halloween genes, such as spookier and neverland, are expressed in specific parts of the developing fly at specific times, suggesting that precise transcriptional programming is at play. Since some Halloween genes are regulated by zinc finger transcription factors like Ouija board and Molting defective, the...


Why study human diseases in frogs? For starters, 79% of genes implicated in human disease have orthologs in the African clawed frog Xenopus laevis. Frogs also produce hundreds of embryos that can be grown in a dish, meaning they can be manipulated in ways that are impractical on a large scale in mammals. For example, scientists can microinject specific cells in the developing frog embryo as a way to alter the genes in particular organs in the adult. This is particularly useful since disruption of many important developmental genes is lethal, which prevents detailed investigation into these genes’ functions. Though...


We’re taking time over the following weeks to get to know the members of the GSA’s Early Career Scientist Committees. Join us every week to learn more about our early career scientist advocates. Nicole Green Career Development Subcommittee Kansas State University Research interest One of the major challenges in developing new treatments for muscle diseases is an understanding of the genes and biological mechanisms central to tissue maintenance. In our lab, we use Drosophila melanogaster as a model to uncover novel genes involved in muscle development. My research focuses on the intersection of muscle development and innate immunity in Drosophila...


New Faculty Profiles allow GSA members who are establishing their first labs to introduce themselves to our wider community. If you’d like to submit your profile, please complete this form. Daniel McKay Assistant Professor, Biology Dept, Genetics Dept, Integrative Program for Biological and Genome Sciences (iBGS) (July 2013) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Lab website Briefly describe the ongoing and expected research projects as your lab gets up and running. The focus of our lab is to understand the mechanisms controlling gene expression in development. We combine Drosophila genetics with genomics and more targeted molecular approaches to investigate how the activity...


Image by hairymuseummatt (original photo) and DrMikeBaxter (derivative work) via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Archaeologists have long known how to extract millennia-old stories from a single tooth buried in an ancient ruin—and now geneticists have the tools to join them. Advances made in the last several years have enabled researchers to sequence tiny amounts of DNA preserved in very old specimens, such as the material inside a tooth from the Stone Age. But this ancient DNA (aDNA) is often severely degraded, limiting its use. In GENETICS, Joshua Schraiber describes a new statistical approach to getting the most from these old samples and reports how he used the method to uncover secrets about the relationships between...