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Mutations affecting segment number and polarity in Drosophila


In systematic searches for embryonic lethal mutants of Drosophila melanogaster we have identified 15 loci which when mutated alter the segmental pattern of the larva. These loci probably represent the majority of such genes in Drosophila. The phenotypes of the mutant embryos indicate that the process of segmentation involves at least three levels of spatial organization: the entire egg as developmental unit, a repeat unit with the length of two segments, and the individual segment.

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Nüsslein-Volhard, C., Wieschaus, E. Mutations affecting segment number and polarity in Drosophila. Nature 287, 795–801 (1980).

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