Arthropod Module

In this module, students will learn about a variety of arthropod systems, including the model genetic system, Drosophila melanogaster. Most importantly, students will leave with the ability to analyze and compare the development of different arthropod embryos. In order to do that, students will be performing various molecular and embryological techniques, such as antibody staining, in situ hybridization, live imaging, and lineage tracing using both classical injection and modern genetic methods. Students will also analyze mutant phenotypes as well as try to create their own mutants using CRISPR/Cas9

At first, students will use a set of antibodies to detect the expression of important developmental proteins and RNAs in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. This will allow students to master the procedure of antibody staining, examine the spatiotemporal expression of these proteins, and study the development of various tissues. Because many of these proteins are well conserved in all arthropods studied to date (and often in other phyla as well), a subset of these antibodies will allow students to stain all sorts of arthropods that either instructors provide or by collecting from around Woods Hole.

In this module students will also have the opportunity to look at aspects of post-embryonic development. In particular, students will look at wing imaginal disc development in Drosophila and scale patterning in butterflies. Students can stain imaginal disks with available antibodies and compare the expression pattern of various proteins between flies and butterflies.

Instructors will also give students several ideas for “projects” that will be discussed, but will also encourage students to try out as many techniques as possible on a range of species.