The long-term objective of The Ross Lab at UPEI is to understand how genetic information is controlled and to explore the biological functions of dynamically regulated genes.
We each have a complement of approximately 45,000 genes that guides our development from a single fertilized egg to a unique, complex individual. Our genetic information does not change as this journey progresses. Rather, development is orchestrated by the activity levels of our genes: the key determinant of the identity and function of our cells is whether specific genes are active (“expressed”) or inactive. Because of their role in development, it may someday be possible to harness the power of dynamically regulated genes to promote repair or regeneration of damaged tissue. After development is complete, we still rely on dynamic gene expression to maintain homeostasis and health in a constantly changing environment, so misregulation of gene expression lies at the heart of many human disorders, including autism.