Genetic renegades: the B chromosomes of D. melanogaster

The Hanlon Lab studies how chromosomes move, form, and evolve. Our model system is the newly discovered B chromosomes in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. B chromosomes are extra, nonessential chromosomes that have been found in hundreds of different plant and animal species and can promote their own segregation, sometimes to the detriment of their host. The Hanlon Lab applies a multitude of cellular, molecular, and genetic tools available in D. melanogaster to understand how B chromosomes rendezvous and segregate during cell division. We also investigate the intrinsic biology of these young B chromosomes, including their effects on life history traits, the frequency of their formation, and the flux of their heterochromatic repeat and transposable element composition over time.

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