Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program


First Advisor

Jack Bateman


The eya gene is essential to development of the Drosophila visual system and eye-specific loss of function mutations in the gene commonly result in the missing eye phenotype. The eya2m35g mutation carries a deletion of exon 1B and adjacent regulatory sequences. Flies carrying the eya2m35g allele exhibit a photoreceptor axon phenotype that has not previously been associated with the eya gene. To determine a potential role for eya in photoreceptor axon targeting, I characterized various phenotypes of eya2m35g mutants and generated additional eya alleles consisting of smaller deletions within the eya2m35g mutation to locate the genetic source of axonal disruption. Using immunofluorescence staining to visualize Eya protein, I found a loss of eya expression in the optic lobe region of eya2m35g stage 9 embryos and third instar larvae. I also observed a loss of retinal basal glial (RBG) cells in the larval eye disc. Finally, I demonstrated that the disconnected axon phenotype is generated when a region of the intron immediately downstream of exon 1B is deleted. These findings suggest that a possible regulatory element for eya that is essential for photoreceptor axon targeting exists in this intronic region.