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Genes Dev. 1989 Sep;3(9):1288-300.

P-element-mediated enhancer detection: a versatile method to study development in Drosophila.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland.


We generated and characterized greater than 500 Drosophila strains that carry single copies of a novel P-element enhancer detector. In the majority of the strains, the beta-galactosidase reporter gene in the P-transposon responds to nearby transcriptional regulatory sequences in the genome. A remarkable diversity of spatially and temporally regulated staining patterns is observed in embryos carrying different insertions. We selected numerous strains as markers for different embryonic organs, tissues, and cells. Many of these strains should allow the study of complex developmental processes, such as nervous system development, which have not been convenient to analyze previously. Also, we present genetic evidence that some of the detected regulatory elements control nearby Drosophila genes. In light of our results, we discuss the diversity and complexity of cis-acting regulatory elements in the genome and the general applications of the enhancer detector method for the study of Drosophila development.

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