Put Your Phone Down: Effects of Cellular Radiation on Drosophila melanogaster
In this project, we aimed to answer the question: Does cellular radiation affect offspring production and expression of the Rad51 gene in the organism Drosophila melanogaster? It was hypothesized that if Drosophila larvae were exposed to cellular radiation, the total offspring production would decrease, along with a corresponding increase in Rad51 expression. The Rad51 protein is crucial to the propagation of strand invasion and exchange steps in homologous recombination, resulting in the repair of double stranded DNA breaks. To test our hypothesis, we exposed the experimental group of Drosophila larvae to doses of cellular radiation emitted from an iPhone 6 or 7. Exposure to cellular radiation occurred for 6-minute durations, twice daily, for 3 consecutive days. At the end of the treatment period, RNA extraction from larvae and complimentary Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) was performed on both control and treatment groups to measure the expression of Rad51. Further analyses were performed to look at the fertility of Drosophila larvae that were exposed to cellular radiation. Due to prior research on cellular radiation exposure and its connection to DNA and sperm damage, it was predicted that expression of the Rad51 gene would show an increase in our treatment groups, along with a corresponding decrease in reproductive ability.