Summary: We are broadly interested in the topics of DNA replication and repair, how DNA sequence variation affects biological function, and how early exposure to DNA damage affects long-term biological outcomes. More specifically, we use Drosophila melanogaster (the fruit fly) to study Blm DNA helicase, an enzyme capable of unwinding double-stranded DNA molecules. Blm recognizes and unwinds structures that arise following breaks in the DNA, or structures that result from stalled or collapsed replication forks. We are primarily interested in the role Blm plays during early development in Drosophila. Recent and ongoing projects include identifying Y chromosome DNA sequence variation that affects survival when Blm is absent during early development, investigating other potential biological effects of Y chromosome sequence variation in the presence of absence of functional Blm protein, and measuring the effects of Blm-deficient development on longevity.

Minimum classes: N/A

Projects:

  • Identification of Blm-dependent Y chromosome variation
    • This project involves Drosophila genetics techniques, stereo-microscope work, data collection and analysis.
  • PCR karyotyping of progeny from Blm-mutant mothers
    • This project involves DNA collection, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays, gel electrophoresis, and data analysis.
  • Long-term biological consequences of Blm-deficient development
    • This project may involve lifespan assays (Drosophila genetic techniques, data collection and analysis), fertility assays (Drosophila genetics techniques, data collection and analysis), and other related experiments.
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