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Genetics. 1991 Jul;128(3):571-82.

Mutational analysis of the Drosophila miniature-dusky (m-dy) locus: effects on cell size and circadian rhythms.

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  • 1Neurobiology Group, Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts 01545.


A mutational analysis has been performed to explore the function of the Drosophila melanogaster miniature-dusky (m-dy) locus. Mutations at this locus affect wing development, fertility and behavior. The genetic characterization of 13 different mutations suggests that m and dy variants are alleles of a single complex gene. All of these mutations alter wing size, apparently by reducing the volume of individual epidermal cells of the developing wing. In m mutants, epidermal cell boundaries persist in the mature wing, whereas they normally degenerate 1-2 hr after eclosion in wild-type or dy flies. This has permitted the direct visualization of cell size differences among several m mutants. Mutations at the m-dy locus also affect behavioral processes. Three out of nine dy alleles (dyn1, dyn3 and dyn4) lengthen the circadian period of the activity and eclosion rhythms by approximately 1.5 hr. In contrast, m mutants have normal circadian periods, but an abnormally large percentage of individuals express aperiodic bouts of activity. These behavior genetic studies also indicate that an existing "rhythm" mutation known as Andante is an allele of the m-dy locus. The differential effects of certain m-dy mutations on wing and behavioral phenotypes suggest that separable domains of function exist within this locus.

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