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Dev Genet. 1991;12(5):349-61.

Phenotypic consequences and genetic interactions of a null mutation in the Drosophila Posterior Sex Combs gene.

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Biology Department, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 22903.


The Posterior Sex Combs (Psc) gene of Drosophila is a member of the Polycomb (Pc) group of transregulatory genes. Previous analyses of the function of this gene in Drosophila embryogenesis have been hampered by the lack of a null mutation. We recently isolated a mutation that deletes the 5' end of the Psc gene. This allele appears to be a null mutation, and we have used it to determine the Psc zygotic null phenotype and to look at the interactions of a null allele of Psc with five other Pc group mutations. We find evidence for transformations along both the anterior-posterior and dorsal-ventral axes in embryos of a variety of genotypes that include a null mutation in Psc. The phenotypes of embryos that are doubly mutant for a null allele of Psc and a mutation in a second Pc group gene show dramatic synergistic effects, but in their specifics they are dependent on the identity of the second Pc group gene. This is different from the relatively uniform phenotypes seen among double mutants that contained the allele Psc1, which has both gain and loss of function properties. The differences in the phenotypes of the doubly mutant embryos allow us to eliminate one class of molecular models to explain the dramatic synergism seen with mutations in this group of genes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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