Genes Under Stress
The combination of environmental stressors due to climate change can compromise lifespan, immunity, and have acute and chronic adverse systemic effects on an organism and populations. To mimic population exposure relative to climate change and quantify their stress response, we challenge fruit flies with high temperature and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, while worsening their air quality and restricting caloric intake. As female and male flies have notable variations in their sensitivities to certain stressors, we aim to compare their multigenerational compensatory effects and discern physiological vs. hereditary phenotypes. We are particularly interested in brain-specific epigenetic responses to stressors, and the heritability potential across multiple generations among both model organisms and natural populations which may be correlative to human health.
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