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Development. 1992 Dec;116(4):855-63.

Molecular markers for identified neuroblasts and ganglion mother cells in the Drosophila central nervous system.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Structural Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801.


The first step in generating cellular diversity in the Drosophila central nervous system is the formation of a segmentally reiterated array of neural precursor cells, called neuroblasts. Subsequently, each neuroblast goes through an invariant cell lineage to generate neurons and/or glia. Using molecular lineage markers, I show that (1) each neuroblast forms at a stereotyped time and position; (2) the neuroblast pattern is indistinguishable between thoracic and abdominal segments; (3) the development of individual neuroblasts can be followed throughout early neurogenesis; (4) gene expression in a neuroblast can be reproducibly modulated during its cell lineage; (5) identified ganglion mother cells form at stereotyped times and positions; and (6) the cell lineage of four well-characterized neurons can be traced back to two identified neuroblasts. These results set the stage for investigating neuroblast specification and the mechanisms controlling neuroblast cell lineages.

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