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The Genetics and Physiology of Growth and Size Determination

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - VitruVius (The Genetics and Physiology of Growth and Size Determination)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-12-31

Body size is an important property of living organisms that is intimately linked to the developmental program to produce fit individuals with proper proportions. We tackle here the important question of how final organ size is determined ad we use the drosophila model for our experimental program. This fundamental question in biology is of importance for the society, since a better understanding of normal physiological mechanisms controlling growth of tissues is key for a better understanding of the pathological situations, like cancer, regeneration, or metabolic diseases.
Our main objectives for this project are:
- to understand the link between organ growth and the program of development.
- to understand the coordination between the growth of different organs in response to abnormal growth (injury, tumor) and during normal development.
- We have discovered a new cellular regulation that allows abnormally growing tissues subjected to abnormal growth to send an alert signal to the body in order to coordinate growth of healthy tissues.
- We have identified a conserved signal that is sent by the brain to coordinate the end of juvenile growth with the transition to adulthood.
- We are studying the mechanisms linking tumor growth and host tissue wasting, similar to what is observed during cancer-induced cachexia.
- We have started a new line of research aimed at understanding the mechanisms selecting for perfect bilateral symmetry of organs in a population of individuals.
Since the beginning of the project, we have made important discoveries on the mechanisms of growth coordination, the coupling of tumor growth and tissue wasting, as well as the understanding of selection mechanisms for proper body part size.
During the time remaining, we expect to further increase our knowledge on the key aspects of our project, i.e.
- understanding the molecular aspects of organ growth sensing and coordination
- deciphering the mechanisms linking tumor growth and systemic wasting
- deciphering the mechanisms of sexual selection allowing maintaining individuals with proper body proportion in a population.