Model organisms to reveal the genetic basis of life
Molecular analyses have convincingly shown that many processes in life have been conserved for millions of years. It is for this reason that invertebrate model organisms are well suited for the analysis of gene function in vertebrates.
At the HHU, we established several different model organisms. Using Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly or geneticist's "companion", we study intercellular signal transduction processes in the conserved Notch pathway (Genetics), the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells in the gut (Genetics, AG Tobias Reiff) and the development of neuronal circuits in the nervous system (Functional Cell Morphology). In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, we analyse adhesion receptors with signalling functions (AG Simone Prömel) and the effects of environmental pollutants on the nervous system (AG Anna von Mikecz, IUF). Hydra vulgaris, a cnidarian, is perfectly suited for studying organismic interactions between the microbiome and their host (Zoology and Organismic Interactions). In honey bees (Apis mellifera), we have established a novel model system to focus on the genetic basis of social cast systems and sex determination (Evolutionary Genetics).