Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Life Sciences

First Committee Member

Allen Gibbs

Second Committee Member

Mira Han

Third Committee Member

Andrew Andres

Fourth Committee Member

Jefferson Kinney

Number of Pages



Fruit flies that have been selected for starvation resistance can be used in experimental studies to study physiological processes. Both their genomes and their phenotypes, especially metabolism, change significantly as a result of artificial selection. Starvation selected flies develop slower and are larger due to higher lipid content as adults. We used RNAseq to study gene expression in third instar larval fat body tissue from selected and control lines at the same chronological time point, when the fed control (“FC”) lines were wandering, and the starvation selected (“SS”) lines were in the third larval instar but not yet wandering due to longer larval feeding and delayed development. DAVID and bioinformatic statistical analyses showed genes of interest that were significantly over- and under-expressed in each population. The gene clusters that were most over-expressed in the starvation selected lines were glutathione metabolism, regulation of lipid storage, pseudouridine synthesis, mitochondrial proton transport, long-chain fatty acid biosynthesis, response to sucrose, and glycogen metabolism. The gene clusters that were most under-expressed in the starvation selected lines were the proteasome, arginine and proline metabolism, pyruvate metabolism, the TCA cycle, and malate metabolism. We conclude that third instar larvae in the SS and FC populations have significantly different transcriptomes. Further genomic, transcriptomic, and physiology approaches can help uncover the phenomena causing differences between SS and FC larvae.


Gene expression; Drosophila melanogaster; Starvation resistance; Metabolism



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5400 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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