Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)




Matthew Wawersik

Committee Members

Randy Coleman

Oliver Kerscher

Diane Shakes


Stem cells are key players in development and maintenance in an array of tissues, including the reproductive system. Gonadal stem cells are necessary to ensure proper organogenesis, gamete production, and reproduction, bridging a network of pathways to execute complex differentiation and self-renewal processes. We have shown that the novel gene CG11180, also known as childless gambino (chigno), is involved in germline stem cell (GSC) maintenance and differentiation in Drosophila testes (Rinehart et al, 2021 BioRXiv). Chigno RNAi knockdown in somatic cyst stem cells (CySCs) leads to an overproliferation of undifferentiated germ cells. However, the exact role of chigno is unknown. To further elucidate its function, we examined chignoexpression in adult Drosophila reproductive tissues. Additionally, we investigated the impact of somatic chigno RNAi knockdown on testis morphology and assess the effects of chigno knockdown within the germline. We also developed a candidate-based RNAi screen to identify modulators of chigno function based on its connection to the Jak/STAT pathway. To further characterize chigno’s potential function, we used in silicogenomics analysis to analyze its homology with other genes and observe predicted modes of regulation. This data comprehensively establishes chigno’s role in Drosophila testis stem cell maintenance and fertility, providing intriguing new insights for future research directions. With the expression of chigno’s closest mammalian homology, PinX1, in human reproductive tissues, this work has important implications for human fertility and reproductive health beyond Drosophila.

Available for download on Wednesday, May 12, 2027