Eric Wieschaus and Christiane Nusslein-Volhard wanted to understand which genes regulated embryonic development in Drosophila. It took them 2 years to design their experiment and only a few months to execute. A combination of good design and good luck allowed them to start with 40,000 flies and identify just 139 genes necessary for embryonic development.
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About the Speaker
Dr. Wieschaus is a Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Wieschaus and Nusslein-Volhard (together with E.B. Lewis) were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 1995 for the experiments he describes in his talk. His lab continues to study embryonic development using Drosophila as a model system.