Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biological Sciences (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Biological Sciences

Advisor 1

Thomas Werner

Committee Member 1

Paul Goetsch

Committee Member 2

Hairong Wei


Complex color patterns like the spots on leopards and butterfly wings beg the question – how did these traits evolve? To understand the evolution of novel morphologies, we need to study the differences in morphogenesis between closely related species. Here, I examine and compare the development of complex abdominal spot patterns among three species of Drosophila closely related in evolutionary time. Through in situ hybridization, I have characterized the expression patterns of three pigmentation genes among the fruit fly species. Additionally, I have built upon previous work in our lab regarding the regulation of pigmentation by beginning to develop an assay to examine interactions between DNA and protein during pupal development. These data have progressed our knowledge of animal pattern development and will facilitate further study of how novel morphologies emerge in nature.

Included in

Biology Commons