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Nature. 1989 Aug 3;340(6232):363-7.

Determination of spatial domains of zygotic gene expression in the Drosophila embryo by the affinity of binding sites for the bicoid morphogen.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Abteilung Genetik, Tübingen, FRG.


The maternal gene bicoid is a key component of the system that determines the pattern of the anterior half of Drosophila embryos. The bicoid protein forms a concentration gradient in early embryos, and is known to bind DNA. Specific binding sites are now shown to confer expression in a region of the embryo that depends on their affinity for bicoid protein: sites of high affinity allow expression further down the bicoid protein gradient than sites of low affinity.

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