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Giacomo uses the fruit fly as a model organism to study how Polycomb and Trithorax group proteins regulate development. For an organism to develop correctly, the appropriate subset of its genes must be switched on at the right time and in the right cells. Polycomb group proteins switch genes off while Trithorax group proteins switch genes on. Giacomo has discovered how specific DNA elements decide whether key developmental genes will be switched on or off in this way when new cells are formed. With the help of coloured labels and advanced microscopy, Giacomo is investigating how these elements bring distant chromosomal regions into close proximity.