fly embryo beetle pupa
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Mahaffey Lab

The diversity of animals on our planet is quite amazing, and this even more amazing knowing that many of the molecular mechanisms underlying development are highly conserved. We are investigating the molecular processes of animal development first to identify the components comprising the pathways directing development and second to understand how these conserved mechanisms give rise to such different animals. We use several model organisms in our studies, the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, the beetle, Tribolium castaneum. We focus on the mechanisms that specify body patterning including the role of the Hox genes in modifying the pattern of different body regions. Much of our work relies on mutational analysis of gene function, though more recently we are using the tools of quantitative genetics and genomics. We fondly refer to our lab as,

The laboratory of Arrested Development

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Updated 08/12/07