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Annotating the myo Gene on the D. takahashii Dot Chromosome Open Access

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Drosophila melanogaster has been widely studied and provides scientists with a fully mapped genome and extensive information for genetic studies. There is a small fourth chromosome, also called the “dot chromosome” on D. melanogaster that is composed of tightly wound DNA regions which are transcriptionally active despite their condensed form. This chromosome is an interesting case study for genome evolution and has spurred the interest of the Genome Education Partnership (GEP), a national educational and research collaborative studying genome evolution within the Drosophila lineage. In BISC 2208 Genetics Laboratory, I compared the myo gene found on the dot chromosome of D. melanogaster with that of a related species, D. takahashii. Using data from the UCSC Genome Browser and BLAST technology, I compared the sequence of the myo gene in D. melanogaster to the analogous contig in D. takahashii and annotated the expected intronic and exonic regions, as well as the start and stop sites. While the function of the myo gene has not been experimentally found, FlyBase predictions estimate it to be related to growth factors and their transformation for receptor binding and cytokine activity. The myo gene showed an overall similarity of 81.8% between the two species, showing that there has been some evolution of the gene between D. melanogaster and D. takahashii. While there is still an overall conservation of gene structure, this is a lower percentage than expected because genes containing important cellular function are typically widely conserved between lineages. Overall, the annotation of different genes on the dot chromosome and their evolution between species will provide valuable insight for GEP partners as they continue to explore the unique patterns on the Drosophila dot chromosome.

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