Essential Genes for Development ofDictyostelium

  • W. F. Loomis
Part of the Progress in Molecular and Subcellular Biology book series (PMSB, volume 11)


A long-term dream of many molecular developmental biologists is to recognize the temporal sequence of gene expression that directs the morphogenetic stages of embryogenesis. In a few species that are amenable to high resolution genetics the pieces are beginning to fall into place. Specific molecular differentiations can now be seen to define the outlines of the physiological changes that direct development. For instance, the combination of classical and molecular genetics in the fruitfuly Drosophila has lead to a dramatic increase in understanding the role of well-defined genes in establishing the segmental pattern of embryos and larva. A few dozen maternal genes control the temporal and spatial patterns of expression of another few dozen zygotically expressed genes (Ingham 1988). Structures specific to each segment are then made in the appropriate segments. Exactly how these decisions are made is still poorly understood, but it is a satisfying advance just to be able to name the genes and know their nucleotide sequences. Connecting this primary sequence data to three dimensional differentiations requires other approaches that are hampered in Drosophila by the complexity of the embryos. It is difficult to analyze the interaction of gene products that are functioning differently in different compartments, and are present in different ratios at different times. The goal of understanding all of the genes that play major roles in fly embryogenesis will require continued brilliance and stamina for many years to come.


Fruiting Body Essential Gene Dictyostelium Discoideum Stalk Cell Spore Coat 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. F. Loomis
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Molecular GeneticsUniversity of California San DiegoLaJollaUSA

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