The Fire Lab studies the mechanisms by which cells and organisms respond to genetic change. We study a variety of natural mechanisms that are utilized by cells adapting to genetic change. These include mechanisms activated during normal development and systems for detecting and responding to foreign or unwanted genetic activity. At the root of these studies are questions of how a cell can distinguish "self" versus "nonself" and "wanted" versus "unwanted" gene expression. We primarily make use of the nematode C. elegans in our experimental studies.