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Genetics. 2004 Sep;168(1):325-39.

Identification and characterization of genes involved in embryonic crystal cell formation during Drosophila hematopoiesis.

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Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California, Los Angeles 90095, USA.


Parallels between vertebrate and Drosophila hematopoiesis add to the value of flies as a model organism to gain insights into blood development. The Drosophila hematopoietic system is composed of at least three classes of terminally differentiated blood cells: plasmatocytes, crystal cells, and lamellocytes. Recent studies have identified transcriptional and signaling pathways in Drosophila involving proteins similar to those seen in human blood development. To identify additional genes involved in Drosophila hematopoiesis, we have conducted a P-element-based genetic screen to isolate mutations that affect embryonic crystal cell development. Using a marker of terminally differentiated crystal cells, we screened 1040 P-element-lethal lines located on the second and third chromosomes and identified 44 individual lines that affect crystal cell development. Identifying novel genes and pathways involved in Drosophila hematopoiesis is likely to provide further insights into mammalian hematopoietic development and disorders.

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