Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Biology (B.S.B.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (archived)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Dongyu Jia


Drosophila melanogaster, fruit flies, are very important for modeling and studying human diseases. This study identifies human genes of interest and their contributions to epithelial ovarian carcinogenesis and progression as well as the roles orthologs of these genes play in Drosophila melanogaster. This is important because ovarian cancer is the most common cause of death among the gynecological cancers. This identification of genes was carried out using a forward genetic screen employing the widely used GMR-Gal4 driver/UAS-transgene system. The GMR-Gal4 driver is commonly utilized to express transgenes in the developing eye of the fruit fly. Transgenes that are expressed using the GMR-Gal4 driver result in a rough eye phenotype and these expressed genes form the human genes of interest. The focus was then on those genes whose misexpression have been recorded to contribute directly to ovarian cancer. The caspase-3, CASP3, gene fit these criteria and through literature exploration was confirmed to be part of a pro-apoptosis signaling pathway, whose misexpression results in uncontrolled proliferation of ovarian cancer cells. CASP3 is strongly linked to ovarian tumor malignancy. Literature exploration was done to identify the gene functions and apoptosis signaling pathways of caspase-3 in fruit flies and humans. Further research can be carried out to explore caspase-3 in ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment using fruit fly models.