Shirley M. Tilghman

Princeton University

Election Year: 1996
Primary Section: 22, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Secondary Section: 26, Genetics
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Research Interests

I am interested in the mechanism by which the transcription of genes is controlled during mammalian development. As a postdoctoral fellow with Philip Leder, I participated in cloning the first mammalian gene and showed that the coding sequences were non-contiguous in the genome, interrupted by intervening sequences. As an independent investigator I studied the structure, evolution, and regulation of the mouse alpha-fetoprotein and albumin genes. I established that the genes arose by sequential duplication and diversification of a small segment of DNA. By studying the expression of the alpha-fetoprotein and albumin genes upon reintroduction into the mouse germline, I established that their regulation was dependent upon multiple, non-redundant regulatory elements, some of which were unique to each gene and some of which were shared between them. More recently I have been studying genes whose expression pattern is determined by whether the gene is inherited from mothers or fathers. My laboratory has elucidated the mechanism by which three of these imprinted genes are regulated by parental inheritance. The laboratory is also using genetics to understand the role of the genes involved in the development of melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in the mouse.

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