Honorable Mention - Jingran Ji

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Undergraduate Student, Department of Molecular Biosciences

MicroRNA genes are found throughout the plant and animal kingdoms, from flies to humans. They regulate other genes and likely play an important role in development and disease prevention. Similar across species, microRNAs could help account for the consistency of basic physical features within species – all humans have two eyes, for example. Ji’s group is examining whether an excess or lack of microRNAs could cause irregularities in tissue growth, and whether manipulating these genes could act as a treatment for cancerous tumors.

In this image of a fruit fly, microRNA 7 has been overexpressed, resulting in a bulging eye.