Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Tin Tin Su


Each year, 1.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer and 610,000 people die from the disease (“Cancer Statistics,” 2018). Ionizing radiation therapy is a commonly used method of treatment for many cancers because it kills cancer cells (Baskar et al., 2012). However, cancer cells that have not been eradicated can proliferate, leading to resistance to treatment (Hanahan & Weinberg, 2011). Drosophila melanogasteris an excellent model organism because they have a short life cycle and share 75% of human disease-causing genes, while the larvae can withstand high amounts of radiation and have regenerative properties. Different genes were investigated to determine if they are required for cell migration during regeneration following radiation damage. Two genes, rab35and rux, when knocked down using RNA interference and when expressed, respectively, were found to cause reduced cell migration from the hinge to the pouch of the wing disc. However, in order to avoid bias in selecting genes to study, a global approach was attempted to identify genes involved in regeneration by dissociating wing discs to single cells, selecting for regenerative cells, and performing Illumina sequencing. Regenerative single cells were obtained, however, RNA isolated from the cell population was degraded, indicating that methods need to be improved to maintain cell viability and RNA integrity. Identifying genes differentially expressed in regenerating cells of Drosophila larvae will provide candidates to test for roles in regeneration and can be targeted in human cancer for therapeutic potential to delay cancer regrowth and prolong disease-free survival.

Included in

Genetics Commons