My broad research interest is the evolution of sex and sexual systems. For my PhD I worked in Rama Singh’s lab at McMaster University in Canada where I studied the Drosophila sex comb, an array of specialized bristles on the male foreleg used to grasp females during mating. I began with characterizing the genetic architecture of bristle number variation in D. melanogaster, and eventually found myself drawn to the development of this trait, investigating the cellular dynamics involved in comb morphogenesis in different bristle number genotypes.
I am currently a Curriculum Fellow at the Harvard Medical School, and pursue research part time in the Extavour lab, where I am using molecular evolution and developmental genetic approaches to understand the evolution of protein function.
Variation in sex comb rotation during ontogeny in Drosophila melanogaster bristle number genotypes . Ahuja, A., Malagon, N., Larsen, E. and Singh, R.S. (MS in preparation).
Ahuja, A. and Extavour, C.G. Patterns of molecular evolution of the germ line specification gene oskar suggest that a
novel domain may contribute to functional divergence in Drosophila. Development, Genes and Evolutiondoi 10.1007/s00427-013-0463-7 published online January 10 (2014).
Sarikaya, D.P., Belay, A.A., Ahuja, A., Green, D.A., Dorta, A. and Extavour, C.G. The roles of cell size and cell number in determining ovariole number in Drosophila. Developmental Biology 363: 279-289 (2011).
Condition dependence and the nature of genetic variation for male sex comb bristle number in Drosophila melanogaster. Ahuja, A., Devito, S. and Singh, R.S. Genetica 139(4): 505-510 (2011).
Variation and evolution of male sex combs in Drosophila: Nature of selection response and theories of genetic variation for sexual traits. Ahuja, A. and Singh, R.S. Genetics 179: 503-509 (2008).