Drosophila Developmental Genetics

Gonad formation

Gonad formation in Drosophila involves the intricate movements of two cell types, the germ cells and the somatic gonadal precursor cell (SGPs), to generate a simple three-dimensional structure.  The germ cells must firstly migrate to SGP clusters which in turn fuse, ensheath the germ cells and coalesce. Underlying this seemingly simple process is an array of genes required to guide germ cells to the SGPs and a complex transcriptional network in SGPs for their specification, maintenance and to initiate fusion and ensheathment.

Our lab is investigating the transcriptional network in SGPs that is required to elicit these behaviours with the ultimate goal of discovering the downstream targets responsible.



Germ cells (green) reach the SGPs (magenta) when they are still 3 separate clusters (left). The SGP clusters fuse and ensheath the germ cells (middle) before coalescing into a compact spherical structure (right).