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Gene and Genome Regulation in Early Fruit Fly Neurogenesis.

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Caroline Newnham.

Host: Steve Russell

From fertilized egg to complex adult lies a world of regulation, specialization and differentiation. The main aim our lab is to address the question ‘How do cells acquire and maintain their identities?’. More specifically, we are interested in (i.) the gene regulatory mechanisms that specify the neurogenic ectoderm (NE) in the early embryo, (ii.) how the NE then subdivides into specific domains that will give rise to discrete parts of the embryonic nervous system (NS), and (iii.) how distinct sets of neuroblasts (NBs) delaminating from these domains acquire and maintain their identities and developmental trajectories. To elucidate the regulatory networks underlying neurogenesis, we combine developmental genetics and genomics approaches in the Drosophila model system.

Three considerations are especially important to us: Regulatory data should (a) encompass and resolve the developmental dynamics, (b) be derived from developing embryos where possible, as cultured models cannot fully recapitulate the complex interactions present in the embryo over the course of development, and© the regulatory data should be acquired with tissue specificity. This is especially challenging when the tissue-specific signatures of ubiquitous features (e.g. chromatin state) are to be assessed.

We aim to establish a dynamic regulatory model of early neurogenesis through the integration of data at complementary regulatory levels (e.g. transcriptomics, epigenomics, TF binding) to better understand the developmental roles of individual network components from tissue specification to the start of differentiation. The seminar will include examples of how we probe early neurogenesis at different regulatory levels, including a new approach we are developing to biochemically screen for new components of the regulatory networks driving neurogenesis.

This talk is part of the Genetics Seminar series.

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