Evolution of neurodevelopmental programs

Neurogenesis, while genetically encoded, is also known to be influenced by environmental cues, including dietary nutrient availability. Natural populations of fruit flies, collected from different latitudes, show variation in developmental timing, neurogenesis, and brain morphology, as well as sequence variation in genes that play a role in neurogenesis. How do variable environmental cues and natural genetic variation interact to impact neurogenesis? My goal is to generate an ecologically and evolutionarily relevant model of neurodevelopment by elucidating the mechanisms by which dietary nutrients and naturally occurring genetic variation interact to affect neurodevelopment and ultimately neuron composition and function of the adult brain.