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In situ localization of the transcripts of a homeobox gene in the honeybee Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera)

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We have isolated and characterized a homeoboxcontaining gene from the honeybee Apis mellifera. Its homeobox region shows a high degree of sequence similarity to the homeobox of the Drosophila gene Deformed (Dfd). At the DNA level 82% of the basepairs are the same, whereas the putative amino acid sequences are identical between the bee and the fruitfly genes. Similarity is also present 5′ and 3′ to the homeobox. Using this isolate as a probe we have performed in situ hybridization on sections from blastoderm-stage embryos of the honeybee Apis mellifera. In early blastoderm stages we found a rather irregular pattern of labelled nuclei. In middle stages we found silver grains over each nucleus and also over the cytoplasm in a belt of blastoderm cells in the prospective gnathal region. These results indicate that the Deformed genes from honeybee and fruitfly are homologous both with respect to their DNA sequence and their spatial and temporal pattern of expression during embryogenesis.

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Correspondence to Klaus Sander.

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Fleig, R., Walldorf, U., Gehring, W.J. et al. In situ localization of the transcripts of a homeobox gene in the honeybee Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera). Roux's Arch Dev Biol 197, 269–274 (1988).

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Key words

  • Apis mellifera
  • Homeobox genes
  • Dfd
  • In situ hybridization
  • Blastoderm