The Garcia lab studies one of nature’s abiding mysteries: how does a single cell develop into a multicellular organism? As the organism grows through a series of cell divisions, different cells adopt unique fates to become familiar cell types such as those found in muscle, liver, and our brains. Cells “decide” on their ultimate developmental fates by reading the program encoded by their DNA. We now know that these decisions are not only based on which proteins to produce, but also on when, where, and how these proteins are produced via the transcription of mRNA from genes. Using the embryo of the fruit fly as a case study, we will look at developmental decisions as they are established in single cells in order to lay out the body plan and learn about our efforts to read the developmental program encoded in the DNA.
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