Establishment of compartments in the developing leg imaginal discs ofDrosophila melanogaster

  • Emil Steiner


By X-irradiation ofM/M+ embryos and larvae to induce mitotic recombination, clones ofM+/M+ genotype were obtained (Fig. 1). Since such cells grow faster than the surroundingM/M+-cells they can fill large areas within the compartments of an imaginal disc.

The present studies concentrated mainly on the three leg discs. Clones were induced by doses of 1000 r at ages ranging from 3±0.5 h after oviposition to 144 h.

All clones induced later than the blastoderm stage were absolutely restricted to either the anterior or the posterior compartment of a disc. The border between the anterior and posterior compartment runs as a straight line along the entire leg and at the distal end separates the two claws (Figs. 5, 6, 7). A further subdivision of the anterior compartment is indicated by clones initiated in the second larval instar (Fig. 11). A parallel subdivision could not be detected in the posterior compartment. Irradiation in the early third instar led to clones which were restricted to single longitudinal bristle rows and leg segments. But no clear-cut compartment borders could be found; in particular a proximo-distal separation appears to be absent.

Among the 318 clones induced at the blastoderm stage eleven extended from the wing into the second leg (Fig. 8), or from the haltere into the third leg.

With the exception of 3 clones that apparently occupied the anterior as well as the posterior compartment of a wing or a leg, all clones remained confined to either the anterior or the posterior compartment.

Frequently clones overlapped left and right forelegs (Fig. 9). Intersegmental overlaps were not observed.

The results show that the earliest compartment borders appear in all thoracic discs. This suggests that compartmentalization is a fundamental process common to all discs.

Key words

Imaginal discs Compartments Clonal analysis Embryonic determination 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emil Steiner
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoologisch-Vergl. Anatomisches Institut der Universität ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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