Honorable Mention - Justin Cassidy

Image: 

Graduate Student, Department of Molecular Biosciences

Physical characteristics within a species are similar. For example, most people have two arms and all chickens have beaks. And, even features not visible to the naked eye maintain some degree of uniformity within species. For instance, the antennal bristles on fruit flies have very similar positions and numbers when comparing any two individuals from a large population. Cassidy’s group has found that the genetic recipe for such similarities is stunningly simpler than one would imagine, meaning it only takes a few genes to create a physical feature that is seemingly complex. This image shows the antennal bristles on a fruit fly.