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Anterior and posterior compartments in the head of Drosophila

Nature volume 274, pages 473474 (03 August 1978) | Download Citation

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Abstract

A COMPARTMENT1 is a precisely demarcated region of an adult insect which is made by a group of related cells. This group (a polyclone2) consists of all the descendents of several founder cells which were set aside at an earlier stage. The developmental pathway followed by a growing polyclone depends on the local state of a small number of controlling ‘selector’ genes3. One example is the engrailed gene which is thought to determine the ‘posterior’ rather than the ‘anterior’ pathway of development and is used in several different segments of the developing fly4–6. The thorax of Drosophila is constructed on these simple principles; each of the three segments consists of two polyclones which generate the anterior and posterior compartments1,7. The proboscis is similarly subdivided8 but the abdominal segments are probably not9. The segmental status of the head is controversial10–12. Here we summarise three lines of evidence which show that the main part of the ‘head’—the cuticular parts formed by the eye-antennal disc13—is constructed on the same principles as a thoracic segment.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Centro de Biologia Molecular, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Canto Blanco, Madrid 34, Spain

    • GINES MORATA
    •  & PETER A. LAWRENCE
  2. MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge, UK

    • GINES MORATA
    •  & PETER A. LAWRENCE

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/274473a0

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