Isolation and Characterization of Genes Differentially Expressed in Early Drosophila Embryogenesis

  • Judith A. Lengyel
  • Steven R. Thomas
  • Paul David Boyer
  • Fidel Salas
  • Teresa R. Strecker
  • Inyong Lee
  • Melissa L. Graham
  • Margaret Roark
  • Eileen M. Underwood


Important events of Drosophila embryogenesis are compressed into a remarkably short period: in the first 3.5 hours after fertilization, rapid nuclear multiplication, cellularization, activation of transcription, and the determination of much of the basic pattern of the larva and adult occur. In this chapter we review the evidence that only a relatively small number of genes are involved in controlling these processes, and that of such genes, those transcribed as part of the maternal program may provide qualitatively different information than those transcribed as part of the zygotic program. Reasoning that genes which play a major role in events specific to early embryogenesis should be expressed differentially during this time period, we have used recombinant DNA techniques to isolate members of two such classes of genes. One class encodes mRNAs which are part of the maternal population, but which disappear rapidly during embryogenesis; the other encodes mRNAs whose expression is primarily zygotic, reaching a peak at the blastoderm or late gastrula stage. We expect that genetic and biochemical analyses of these cloned sequences will provide insight into events specific to early embryogenesis.


Early Embryogenesis Drosophila Embryo Polar Granule Maternal mRNA Blastoderm Stage 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith A. Lengyel
    • 1
  • Steven R. Thomas
    • 1
  • Paul David Boyer
    • 1
  • Fidel Salas
    • 1
  • Teresa R. Strecker
    • 1
  • Inyong Lee
    • 1
  • Melissa L. Graham
    • 1
  • Margaret Roark
    • 1
  • Eileen M. Underwood
    • 1
  1. 1.Molecular Biology Institute and Department of BiologyUniversity of California, Los AngeleLos AngelesUSA

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