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Looking at the future of functional genomics from inside the Drosophila blastoderm -(Meeting Rm 2 at the Centre for Math. Sciences)

Presented by: 
J Jäger [SUNY]
Tuesday 25th September 2001 - 10:10 to 10:50
No Room Required
Session Title: 
Vertical Integration in Biology: From Molecules to Organisms
Functional genomics will ultimately involve the application of genomic methods to the full range of biological functions, including those that are properties of multicellular organisms. This includes areas such as neurobiology, development, macroevolution, and ecology. This talk will be concerned with the functional genomics of animal development. The central problem in animal development is the generation of body form. This problem was first considered by Aristotle, and in the nineteenth century is was shown that basic body form is determined by interactions among cells in a morphogenetic field. The determination of a morphogenetic field in development involves the expression of genes in spatial patterns. Spatially controlled gene expression cannot as yet be assayed in microarrays, but certain special properties of the fruit fly Drosophila which make it a premier system for developmental genetics also enable it to be used as a naturally grown differential display system for reverse engineering networks of genes. In this system we can approach fundamental scientific questions about development as well as certain computational questions that arise in the analysis of genomic level gene expression data.

Our approach is called the ``gene circuit method'', and it consists of 4 components: (1) The formulation of a theoretical model for gene regulation. (2) The acquisition of gene expression data using fluorescently tagged antibodies. (3) The determination of the values of parameters in the model or the demonstration that no such values exist by numerical fits to data. The results of (1), (2), and (3) are used (4) to validate the model by comparison to the existing experimental data and by making further predictions. Recent progress in all 4 of these areas will be discussed.

University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons