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Defining Transcription factor specificity and redundancy in Drosophila

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In general, metazoan transcription factors (TFs) are found in families of closely related genes that have most likely arisen through duplication and divergence during evolution. Often the proteins encoded by duplicated genes have similar structures and recognise similar, if not identical, binding sites, raising questions as to how individuals TFs are able to direct specific regulatory outputs. In some cases this is achieved by divergent expression, with different proteins expressed in different cell types or at different developmental stages. However, in other cases, closely related TFs are expressed in the same cells at the same time and show considerable genetic redundancy, raising the question of how evolution maintains redundant functions. We have been examining the function, specificity and redundancy associated with two classes of transcription factors in Drosophila – Hox and Sox – This seminar will overview the experimental approaches we take to studying these proteins, what we have learned and some of the many questions still remaining.

This talk is part of the Computational and Systems Biology series.

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