Julia Bowsher, Biology Graduate Student  

Julia Bowsher

Office Location: 317 Bio Sci
Office Phone: 684-2793
Email Address: julia.bowsher@duke.edu

Developmental Biology

Research Categories: Evolution and development of novel structures

Research Description: In my thesis work I investigate both experimental and philosophical issues in evolutionary and developmental biology. Primarily, I have been interested in evolvability, or how a species is able to produce the variation necessary for evolution while at the same time being developmentally robust. Although most biologists believe modularity to be the key to evolvability, defining modules and creating a model for how modularity itself evolved has proved difficult. Currently, I am investigating the evolvability of gene networks by examining the co-option of gene network modules in the evolution of novel traits. My thesis examines how novel characters evolve through an analysis of abdominal brush development in sepsid flies. Abdominal brushes are complex, jointed, appendage-like structures used by males during mating. These complex structures have evolved over a relatively short amount of time and exhibit great diversity of size and shape. I am investigating whether the appendage patterning pathway, used to pattern other fly appendages, has been co-opted in the evolution of sepsid brushes. I am investigating whether these abdominal brushes are developmentally similar to other fly appendages by examining their developmental origin (through cauterization and cell lineage analysis) and the genes expressed during development (through antibody staining and in situ hybridization).

Recent Publications   (search)

  1. Gemmell, N. J., J. H. Bowsher and K. P. Gomas, The genetic affinities of Hochstetter’s frog (Leiopelma hochstetteri) populations in the Bay of Plenty, A report commissioned by the New Zealand Department of Conservation (2003), New Zealand Department of Conservation .
  2. Cartwright, P., J. H. Bowsher and L. W. Buss, Expression of a Hox gene, Cnox-2, and the division of labor in a colonial hydroid, PNAS, vol. 96 (1999), pp. 2183-2186 .