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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Sep 25;98(20):11341-6.

Germ cell selection in genetic mosaics in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Museum Molecular Laboratory, University Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, United Kingdom.


Heritable mutations in the germ line lead to genetically heterogeneous, or mosaic, gonads. Many of the genes used in germ-line development also play roles in somatic development [Saffman, E. E. & Lasko, P. (1999) Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 55, 1141-1163]. Mutations in these genes may have cellular phenotypes throughout germ-line development leading to their differential elimination or survival, as has been observed in somatic cells [Morata, G. & Ripoll, P. (1975) Dev. Biol. 42, 211-221]. We investigate whether mutations in heterozygosis are subject to pregametic selection in the germ line. We initiated clones of wild-type homozygous cells at different stages of development in gonads heterozygous for eight different recessive chromosome deficiencies. Here we show that cell selection takes place in mosaic germ-line populations. This phenomenon represents a level of selection that precedes and conditions subsequent zygotic selection by affecting the genes available in the gametic population.

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