Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Sandra Leal

Advisor Department

Biological Sciences


The Honors thesis research focused on the roles of extramacrochaetae and midline in regulating eye development and the vision of Drosophila melanogaster. It is known from previous studies that extramacrochaetae (emc) and midline (mid) independently regulate the formation of ommatidial units in the Drosophila compound eye. However, the thesis focuses on the interaction of these two genes and their co-dependent roles in regulating eye development. This study also attempts to explain the recovered formation of ommatidial units and interommatidial bristles when the expression of both of these genes is reduced and whether flies doubly mutant for these genes have recovered phototactic ability. Specific genotypes of flies were subjected to larval and adult phototaxis assays to assay their phototactic ability. A Western analysis was performed on extramacrochaetae mutants, midline mutants, and wild-type flies to determine whether the Emc and Mid proteins interacted in a co-regulatory fashion within developing larval tissues.

The larval phototaxis assays revealed a slight decrease in photoreception in the mid-RNAi larvae when compared to the wild-type larvae. However the data was not conclusive to definitively determine if the mid-RNAi mutants displayed a significant decrease in photoreceptive ability. The adult phototaxis assays were more definitive than the larval assays. The emc1 flies displayed a slight decrease in photoreceptive ability. Both the mid-RNAi and the flies doubly mutant for midGA174 and emc1 displayed a significant decrease in photoreceptive ability. The Western blot and immunofluorescence studies revealed an interaction between mid and emc, and the future nature of this interaction will be resolved in greater detail