The piRNA pathway has previously been shown to play a vital role in germline
development in Drosophila through transposon repression. Through individualization complex staining and scoring techniques, fertility tests, and cytological analysis, this thesis focuses on expanding the understanding of the role of the piRNA pathway to include contributions to somatic stem cell development and to show the involvement of the RNAi pathway in spermatogenesis as well. A functional redundancy between the piRNA and RNAi pathways has been uncovered through these experiments as a result of an enhanced phenotype caused by simultaneous mutations in both pathways.
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Mentor: Josefa Steinhauer, Ph.D., Department of Biology