Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Biological Sciences

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, xiii, 180 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Prashanth Rangan

Committee Members

Ben Szaro, Melinda Larsen, Joseph Wade


Drosophila, Germ line, Heterochromatin, RNA binding proteins, RNA regulation, Transcriptional Silencing, Germ cells, Drosophila melanogaster, Gametes, Gene silencing, Genetic transcription

Subject Categories

Cell Biology | Developmental Biology | Molecular Biology


Germ cells are the only cell in an organism that have the capacity to give rise to a new organism and are passed from one generation to the next. Therefore, to maintain this unique ability of totipotency and immortality, germ cells execute specific functions, such as, repression of a somatic program and contour a germ line-specific pre- and post-transcriptional gene regulatory landscape. In many sexually reproducing organisms, germ cells are formed during the earliest stages of embryogenesis and undergoes several stages of development to eventually get encapsulated by the somatic cells of the gonad. Once, in the gonad, the germ cells acquire a stem cell fate and some of the encapsulating somatic cells become the stem cell niche which provides structure and signaling to maintain these stem cells. The stem cells over time undergo different stages of development to give rise to healthy gametes that launch the next generation. Therefore, during the life cycle of the germ line critical developmental events need to be tightly monitored for its proper propagation. In my thesis, I aimed to explore two fundamental questions regarding germline stem cell biology: 1) How does a stem cell daughter, which is in close proximity to the stem cell niche, overcome the stem cell program and pushes itself towards a differentiated fate? and 2) How does maternal factors transcribed during female gametogenesis (oogenesis) are effectively deposited to the developing egg even though germ line RNA regulators have a dynamic expression profile during oogenesis.