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Neuron. 1989 Jul;3(1):21-32.

Neurogenesis of the peripheral nervous system in Drosophila embryos: DNA replication patterns and cell lineages.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Physiology, University of California, San Francisco 94143.

Erratum in

  • Neuron 1989 Nov;3(5):following 664.


Cell lineages that give rise to the PNS were studied using the thymidine analog 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) to visualized DNA replication immunocytochemically. The precursors of the PNS in the body segments of Drosophila embryos replicate their DNA in a spatially and temporally stereotyped pattern. The sequence of DNA replication within developing sensory organs suggests particular lineage relationships of the cells that constitute a sensory organ, i.e., neuron and associated support cells. In embryos that are mutant for the achaete-scute complex or daughterless, in which most or all of the PNS is missing, no BrdU-labeled cells were found in the appropriate regions, suggesting that these PNS precursors either do not form or fail to replicate. Thus, the BrdU technique allows determination as to whether a mutation affects the PNS precursors or terminal differentiation.

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