Genetic and Molecular Analysis of Early Pattern Formation in Drosophila
Drosophila is a small dipteran fly and belongs to the group of holometabolous insects (Fig. 1). Both the larvae and the adult flies live on rotting fruit, and feed mainly on the fungi and bacteria which grow on these fruit. It probably had its evolutionary origins in tropical Africa, but a large number of different species can now be found throughout the world. D. melanogaster was introduced into the genetic laboratory by T.H. Morgan around 1910, mainly because it was easy to grow (generation time two weeks with about 300 offspring per female) and because it showed a wealth of morphological markers, which could be used for genetic experiments. D. melanogaster quickly became one of the genetically best analyzed organisms. Morgan received the Nobel prize for medicine in 1933 for describing the principles of genetic recombination and for the discovery of the chromosomal sex determination. One of his coworkers, H. J. Muller, received the Nobel prize in 1946 for the discovery and the description of the mutagenicity of X-rays. This international recognition has boosted Drosophila research and Drosophila has since been continuously used for the analysis of a variety of basic biological questions, ranging from biochemistry over behavioral genetics to evolution. The exchange of information and stocks among the Drosophila researchers has traditionally been very good and provides us nowadays with an exceptionally wellfounded genetic system. The degree of sophistication of the genetic experiments that can be done with Drosophila is unparalleled and this is the real strength of the system.
KeywordsFollicle Cell Nurse Cell Drosophila Embryo Germ Band Zygotic Gene
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