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Genetics. 1990 May;125(1):129-40.

The organization and expression of the light gene, a heterochromatic gene of Drosophila melanogaster.

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  • 1Department of Zoology NJ-15, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


The light (lt) gene is located in the centromeric heterochromatin of chromosome 2 of Drosophila melanogaster. This gene is necessary for normal levels of pigmentation in a number of adult and larval tissues and is required for viability. Hybrid dysgenic and X-ray induced mutations have been used to identify the gene and compare its organization to that of euchromatic genes. Molecular mapping of lt mutations and its major transcripts has shown that the lt gene is at least 17 kb. By injecting cosmid clones that include this region into lt mutant embryos, we have defined a 30-kb region that can transiently rescue the pigmentation defect in the Malpighian tubules. The major transcription unit of this gene is comprised of exons that are single copy. It is unusual in its organization in having a heterogeneous array of middle repetitive DNA sequences within its intronic and flanking regions.

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