Washington University in St. Louis
Campus Box 1037
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
DBBS graduate programs Developmental, Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology Program
Molecular Genetics and Genomics Program
Ian Duncan's major research goal is to understand how body segments become different from one another in Drosophila. He is particularly interested in the antennal segment, since this develops independently of the Hox genes, which specify segmental identities in more posterior segments. He has shown that the identity of the distal part of the antenna is specified by the spineless (ss) gene, which encodes the Drosophila homolog of the vertebrate aryl hydrocarbon receptor. In mammals, this protein mediates the toxicity of a variety of aryl hydrocarbons, including dioxin. Much of the current work is devoted to understanding how ss is regulated and how its apparently disparate functions have evolved in the arthropod and vertebrate lineages.
His lab is also very interested in how patterning occurs within body segments. For this work, his group has focused on the abdominal segments of the adult, which are much simpler than those in the thorax and head.
Photo caption: Antennal specification by ss. (a)Normal antenna (b) Antenna from an ss mutant fly (c)The larval antennal primordium (imaginal disc) stained for expression of the ss gene.
Kopp, A., Duncan I. (1997) Control of cell fate and polarity in the adult abdominal segments of Drosophila by optomotor-blind. Development 124: 3715-3726.
Duncan, D.M., Burgess, E.A., Duncan, I. (1998) Control of distal antennal identity and tarsal development in Drosophila by spineless-aristapedia, a homolog of the mammalian dioxin receptor. Genes Dev. 12:290-1303.
Kopp, A., Blackman, R.K., Duncan, I. (1999) Wingless. Decapentaplegic and EGF Receptor signaling pathways interact to specify dorso-ventral pattern in the adult abdomen of Drosophila. Development 126: 3495-3507.
Kopp, A., Duncan, I., Carroll, S.B. (2000) Genetic control and evolution of sexually dimorphic characters in Drosophila. Nature 408: 553-559.
Kopp, A., Duncan, I. (2002) Anteroposterior patterning in adult abdominal segments of Drosophila. Dev. Biol. 242: 15-30.