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The Use of Controlled Mating Experiments of Drosophila Melanogaster to Identify Paternal Effect Genes

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It is important to consider factors that contribute to successful fertilization and the development of viable offspring. Better understanding the factors that contribute to infertility can be used to assist

It is important to consider factors that contribute to successful fertilization and the development of viable offspring. Better understanding the factors that contribute to infertility can be used to assist in the development of viable offspring, especially for human beings looking to successfully reproduce. Identifying paternal effect genes, genes that come from the father, introduces more targets that can be manipulated to produce specific reproductive effects. Use of Drosophila melanogaster as a model to study reproduction has increased, in part, due to the use of the GAL4 system. In this system, the GAL4 gene encodes an 881 amino acid protein that binds to the 4-site Upstream Activating Sequence (UAS) to induce transcription of the gene of interest. These sequences constitute the two components of the system: the driver (GAL4) and the responder (gene of interest) \u2014 each of which is maintained as a separate parental line. Effects of the GAL4 driver line "driving" transcription of the responder can be assessed by examining the offspring. One of the more common uses of the GAL4 system involves analyzing phenotypic effects of reducing or eliminating expression of a target gene through the induction of RNAi transcription, which often results in toxicity, lethality, or reduced viability. Utilizing these principles, we strove to demonstrate the effect of knocking down the expression of testis-specific sperm-leucyl-aminopeptidases gene CG13340 on progeny by inducing expression of RNAi with two distinct GAL4 driver lines - one with a nonspecific actin-binding activation sequence and the other with a testis-specific activation sequence. Comparison of both GAL4 driver lines to crosses using N01 wild type ("wt") flies verify that inducing RNAi transcription using the GAL4 system results in reduction of proper offspring development. Further studies using D. melanogaster and the GAL4 system can improve knowledge of factors contributing to male fertility and also be applied to better understand mammalian, specifically human, fertility.

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  • 2014-05