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Trends Genet. 1999 May;15(5):184-90.

A fly's eye view of biology.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry, National Cancer Institute, Building 37, Room 4C17, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Determining how genes function in developmentally complex multicellular organisms can be a formidable task. Obstacles arise from the fact that inactivation of most genes results in subtle or undetectable phenotypic alterations, and when phenotypes are observed they are often difficult to interpret because most genes play multiple roles in development. New techniques that have been applied to studying genes in the developing Drosophila eye promise to circumvent these obstacles. The advent of these techniques combined with the existing wealth of information about cellular pattern formation in the Drosophila eye make the eye a powerful model system for deciphering the function of genes in biological processes.

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