Date of Award

Spring 5-25-2020

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Michelle Casad

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Wade Grabow


Idgf3, Drosophila, neural tube malformation, dorsal appendages, genetics, overexpression


Genetic mutations disrupting human neural tube formation can lead to birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Defects can result in lack of neural tube closure in either the caudal (spina bifida) or cranial (anencephaly) regions. Little is known about the genes that cause these malformations. Researchers have been using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster in an attempt to determine genes responsible for neural tube malformations. Recently, an ortholog of human chitin-like protein, imaginal disc growth factor 3 (Idgf3), has been identified as important in the proper formation of Drosophila egg dorsal appendages. However, the molecular mechanism responsible for the malformation is not yet known, therefore a genetic screen will allow us to identify other genes in the pathway. The creation of small genomic deletions will allow us to determine the genetic interaction responsible for dorsal appendage malformation. Thus far, no deletions have been completed. Transposable pieces of DNA (P-elements) will also be screened for an interaction with Idgf3. P-element screens have begun but are not completed at this time. If we can determine the gene responsible in Drosophila, it would provide greater insight into the genes potentially important for the birth defects spina bifida and anencephaly.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars Honors Program.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.