Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy as a tool to study the transcription rate of Bicoid targets during Drosophila embryonic development

In embryos, cell differentiation occurs via the formation of spatial gradients of molecules called morphogens, which control the expression of a number of target genes determining cell identity. A common model system to study morphogen is the Bicoid gradient, which determine anterio-posterior patterning in the Drosophila fly. Here we propose to apply novel methods in both fly genetics (to label the nascent mRNA of target genes) and fluorescence imaging (to detect the fluctuations in signal caused by the periodic creation of new mRNA at transcription sites) in order to measure the rate of transcription of a target gene of Bicoid, hunchback, in each nucleus along the anterioposterior axis of Drosophila flies. Systematic measurements will allow determining which factors influence this transcription rate (e.g. the concentration of Bicoid, the concentration of Hunchback), especially in the border region where there is a switch between expression and no expression.

Faculty Supervisor:

Cecile Fradin


Carmina Angelica Perez Romero



Physics / Astronomy



McMaster University



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