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Eur J Cell Biol. 2009 Jul;88(7):397-408. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcb.2009.03.001. Epub 2009 Apr 22.

The germline stem cells of Drosophila melanogaster partition DNA non-randomly.

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Department of Medical Genetics and Microbiology, University of Toronto, 160 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3E1.


The Immortal Strand Hypothesis proposes that asymmetrically dividing stem cells cosegregate chromatids to retain ancestral DNA templates. Using both pulse-chase and label retention assays, we show that non-random partitioning of DNA occurs in germline stem cells (GSCs) in the Drosophila ovary as these divide asymmetrically to generate a new GSC and a differentiating cystoblast. This process is disrupted when GSCs are forced to differentiate through the overexpression of Bag of Marbles, a factor that impels the terminal differentiation of cystoblasts. When Decapentaplegic, a ligand which maintains the undifferentiated state of GSCs, is expressed ectopically the non-random partitioning of DNA is similarly disrupted. Our data suggest asymmetric chromatid segregation is coupled to mechanisms specifying cellular differentiation via asymmetric stem cell division.

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