Eric Wieschaus: Patterning Development in the Early Embryo

I. Patterning Development in the Embryo
II. Stability of Morphogen Gradients & Movement of Molecules
III. Evolution of Bicoid-based Patterning in the Diptera

Part III: Evolution of Bicoid-based Patterning in the Diptera

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Lecture Overview
Following fertilization, the single celled embryo undergoes a number of mitotic divisions to produce a ball of cells called a blastula or blastoderm. Although these cells are all genetically identical, they gradually begin to express different gene products that reflect the regions of the adult body they will form. In my first lecture I discuss how these initial patterns of gene expression arise. In Drosophila, a maternally supplied transcription factor called Bicoid plays a particularly important role. Bcd RNA is anchored at the anterior end of the egg but is only translated after fertilization. From that anterior source, Bcd protein is thought to diffuse through the egg, establishing a concentration gradient that activates different genes at different thresholds. More >>

Speaker Bio
I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and did my undergraduate work at University of Notre Dame. During my graduate work at Yale University, the professor I was working with (Walter Gehring) decided to return to his home country of Switzerland and I followed him and completed my Ph. D research in Basel, Swizterland. After doing postdoctoral work in Zurich, I took my first job as an independent scientist at the EMBL in Heidelberg. More >>

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