Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

James B. Courtright

Second Advisor

Oliver H. Smith

Third Advisor

A. Krishna Kumaran

Fourth Advisor

B.R. Unsworth

Fifth Advisor

Robert H. Fitts


The ultimate goal in the study of development is to be able to describe in complete detail the mechanisms regulating gene expression during development and in different tissues. There are two major features in the biochemistry of muscle development in vertebrates and invertebrates that make it a very attractive system to examine from a genetic perspective. First, the terminal differentiation of muscle cells is marked by the coordinate appearance of large quantities of contractile proteins (Coleman and Coleman, 1968), the most abundant being the myofibrillar proteins actin, myosin, tropomyosin, and troponin (Potter, 1974). The explanation for this coordinate expression at the genetic level is a subject of major interest. Secondly, the sequential appearance, of distinct molecular isoforms of these proteins during the course of development is a phenomenon which occurs in both vertebrate and invertebrate muscles. The genetic basis for this phenomenon, i.e., whether each isoform is a product of a distinct, separable gene or just one of several products from a single gene, is also a very relevant topic in developmental genetics. These two features of muscle development will be discussed first and then the rationale for the initiation of a study of one muscle protein, myosin, in an invertebrate, Drosophila melanogaster, will be presented.




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