Honors Projects


Recombination is vital because it adds genetic diversity to a species and has the potential to influence fitness, the relative reproductive success of an organism in passing genes to the next generation (Roeder, 1997). Multiple aspects of recombination have been studied, including its mechanisms of production and the role of recombination events in evolution (Hudson & Kaplan, 1985). In this study we examined how maternal age affects the rate of recombination. Our hypothesis states that recombination rate is positively correlated with maternal age. If this is true we would expect to see recombination rate, in progeny, increase as the parental female age increases. Since many previous studies have presented differing and conflicting data on this topic, more research is needed to determine the influence of aging on recombination. In this study two different stocks of Drosophila melanogaster with different genetic backgrounds were crossed, allowing recombination to be identified by phenotypic traits of eye color and bristle length. One virgin female was placed in a vial with two males, and given 48 hours to mate. The female was then transferred to a new vial and the males were discarded. The progeny from the older vial were then scored for recombination. This process was repeated every 48 hours and continued for 20 days. This study consisted of 31 different female D. melanogaster that were scored for recombinants. The results of this study supported our hypothesis that recombination rate in D. melanogaster increases with increasing maternal age. These findings are significant due to the effects of increased recombination rate on increased mutation rates and positive selection. An interesting pattern observed in this study was that females could refrain from laying eggs for two to four days, and then promptly resume laying eggs again.


Biological Sciences



First Advisor

Ron Woodruff

First Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Second Advisor

Neocles Leontis

Second Advisor Department


Publication Date

Fall 12-13-2016

Included in

Genetics Commons