I also use the Drosophila Adh gene, an essential gene for them to survive in an alcohol-rich habitat. Since it is very important for them, Adh genes have been cloned from many different Drosophila species. Thus, this gene is ideal for a phylogenetic study to do a DNA sequence comparison, which allows us to recognize evolutionarily conserved segments. In addition, this gene is ideal for understanding mechanisms of splicing and mRNA stability. A part of this project focuses on evolutionarily conserved sequences that may form secondary RNA structures to regulate gene activities (a collaborative work with Dr. W. Stephan at University of Munich). In order to examine biological significance of such conserved sequences and structures, I introduce mutations to the Adh gene in vitro and assess effects of these artificial mutations in tissue culture cells or in Drosophila by creating transgenic flies. One of our long-term goals is to find the gene products that interact with these conserved RNA sequence and structures.
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