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Dev Neurobiol. 2011 Dec;71(12):1133-52. doi: 10.1002/dneu.20921.

My what big eyes you have: how the Drosophila retina grows.

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Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.


The compound eye of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has for decades been used extensively to study a number of critical developmental processes including tissue development, pattern formation, cell fate specification, and planar cell polarity. To a lesser degree it has been used to examine the cell cycle and tissue proliferation. Discovering the mechanisms that balance tissue growth and cell death in developing epithelia has traditionally been the realm of those using the wing disc. However, over the last decade a series of observations has demonstrated that the eye is a suitable and maybe even preferable tissue for studying tissue growth. This review will focus on how growth of the retina is controlled by the genes and pathways that govern the specification of tissue fate, the division of the epithelium into dorsal-ventral compartments, the initiation, and progression of the morphogenetic furrow and the second mitotic wave.

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