The Molecular Genetic Basis of Positional Information in Insect Segments

Part of the Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation book series (RESULTS, volume 18)


Pattern formation is the process by which a group of initially unspecified cells organizes itself to generate a precise array of structures. Pattern forming systems as diverse as the vertebrate limb, the insect segment, and the hydra body column, are remarkably resistant to environmental effects and to malicious manipulations perpetrated by researchers. Large variations in the overall size of the organism, the number of cells, and the growth conditions can be tolerated. Injuries result in attempts by the surviving cells to regenerate the pattern. For example, if part of an insect segment is damaged or surgically removed then some or all of the missing structures will be regenerated during subsequent molts. Such regenerative responses to injury are termed “pattern regulation”. Pattern regulation almost certainly reflects the same mechanisms that accommodate variations in cell number and arrangement during normal development. Thus, studies of pattern regulation in response to injury should reveal the processes that form pattern de novo during development.


Positional Information Imaginal Disc Homeotic Gene Drosophila Embryo Segment Polarity 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cellular and Structural BiologyUniversity of Colorado Health Sciences CenterDenverUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Developmental Biology and GeneticsStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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