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A thesis submitted to the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Massachusetts, Worcester in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology.

Fibroblast growth factor (Fgf) and Retinoic acid (RA) are known to be involved in patterning the posterior embryo. Work has shown that Fgf can convert anterior tissue into posterior fates and that embryos deficient in Fgf signaling lack posterior trunk and tail structures. Likewise, studies performed on RA have shown that overexpression of RA posteriorizes anterior tissue, while disrupting RA signaling yields a loss of posterior fates. While it appears these signals are necessary for posterior development, the role Fgf and RA play in development of the hindbrain is still enigmatic. A detailed study of the requirements for Fgf and RA in the early vertebrate hindbrain are lacking, namely due to a deficiency in gene markers for the presumptive hindbrain at early developmental stages. In this study, we make use of recently isolated genes, which are expressed in the presumptive hindbrain region at early developmental stages, to explore Fgf and RA regulation of the early vertebrate hindbrain.


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