Biology ETDs


Ginny Morriss

Publication Date



Muscle development is an evolutionarily conserved process. Mechanisms that govern the development of specific muscles in invertebrates can inform our understanding of how vertebrate muscles form. Understanding these processes allows us to translate developmental mechanisms to disease pathogenesis, as similar genes and developmental processes are affected by these diseases. In this dissertation, CG14614 is identified as the gene responsible for the wings apart phenotype in Drosophila melanogaster. This mutation leads to a loss of the adult jump muscle (TDT) in most cases and a greater than 60% reduction in muscle fibers in its least severe form. wap mutants fail to properly form neuromuscular junctions to the TDT, resulting in degeneration of the muscle. Regulation of Myocyte enhancer factor 2 (Mef2) expression in the developing mesoderm, which gives rise to somatic, visceral, and cardiac muscle, by the transcription factors Twist and Mad was also investigated. Our results indicate these are both involved in regulation of the Mef2 enhancer but additional complexity exists in its regulation that remains to be fully elucidated.




myogenesis, development, gene regulation, Drosophila

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Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Stricker, Stephen

Second Committee Member

Takacs-Vesbach, Cristina

Third Committee Member

Gelbart, William