Bill McGinnis


question of his own to address. He thus switched to investigating the origins of complex innate behaviour, using the sexual behaviour of Drosophila as a model system. In the short time since, Dickson’s progress has been astounding. His group has been focussing on the role of the fruitless gene, which is known to be differently spliced in males and females. The significance of this observation has long been the subject of debate but Dickson’s groundbreaking work, which is shortly to be published, has gone a long way towards resolving the issues. Another project to which Dickson is devoting his attention relates to the generation of a set of about 15,000 transgenic fly strains, each of which will permit the targeted disruption of a single gene. When completed, the library will enable sophisticated experiments to examine the importance and function of individual genes in determining behaviour, experiments that would have been unthinkable until very recently. As around 70% of Drosophila genes have human counterparts, the library may also be useful to test gene function in models of human disease. Dickson is working towards establishing a facility for making the fly strains available to the research community, although this is still some way from realization. Dickson has thus rapidly established himself as one of the world’s leading developmental neurobiologists. He is aware that the administrative tasks that come with the post of IMP Director may require him to scale down his group somewhat but he is relishing the fresh challenge that heading the Institute will offer. As he says, “I feel highly honoured to have been offered this prestigious post and look forward very much to shaping the future of the Institute. The IMP has first-rate facilities and an excellent group of scientists and it will be my job to ensure that they continue to perform the research they are capable of.”Q & Q & A

DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2005.03.033

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@article{McGinnis2005BillM, title={Bill McGinnis}, author={Bill McGinnis}, journal={Current Biology}, year={2005}, volume={15}, pages={R232-R233} }