January 28, 2021

Essence Jackson (North Carolina Central University)

Flies get buzzed: evolution of intoxicated behavior, neurogenesis, and the insulin pathway

Fall 2020 Graduate Student Award in Brain Sciences


The purpose of this project is to investigate how differences in your genes may impact the severity of phenotypes one might have as a result of being exposed to ethanol during development.  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a severe phenotype among the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) and fruit flies (Drosophila), that share 75% of disease-causing genes with humans, can be to help us understand FAS/FASD. Previous studies in fruit flies have shown developmental and behavioral defects similar to FAS that are largely due to the effects of ethanol on insulin signaling. This study will focus on variation of the insulin-like peptide 2 (Ilp2) gene, a gene in fruit flies that is very similar to human insulin to help us understand FAS.