College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-20-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Science

First Advisor

William Gilliland, PhD

Second Advisor

Joanna Brooke, PhD

Third Advisor

Philip Funk, PhD


Organisms can defend against pathogens by significantly increasing the diversity of their progeny, so that some progeny are more likely to survive infection. This led to the prediction that infection should cause an increase in recombination rates which was seen in a previous study. However, the mechanism that regulates recombination rates in response to infection is not understood and in that study they did not provide a mechanism for how that can occur. In an RNAi screen, our lab found the gene mustard (mtd) is required for normal recombination rates. This gene was previously shown to be part of the Immune Deficiency Pathway. When mtd was knocked down by RNAi, we saw an ~95% reduction in recombination rates. This suggests that the IMD pathway may be part of the mechanism that modulates recombination rates in response to bacterial infection. We tested this by measuring if the recombination rate changes caused by P. rettgeri infection depends on mtd function. We found that infecting female flies with the bacteria did not have any change in recombination rates between the control groups and the experimental groups.

SLP Collection


Included in

Biology Commons