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Development. 1989 Dec;107(4):723-31.

Dynamics of Drosophila eye development and temporal requirements of sevenless expression.

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  • 1Zoologisches Institut, Universit├Ąt Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


The development of the compound eye of Drosophila consists of a linear, stereotyped program starting at the posterior end of the eye imaginal disc and progressing towards the anterior border. The determination of the R7 photoreceptor cells is part of this process and is dependent on the sevenless gene. In this study, we used a heat-shock-inducible sevenless gene as a conditional allele to determine the exact temporal requirements of sevenless gene expression and to reveal the stages of ommatidial development during which the presumptive R7 cell can respond to the presence of sevenless protein. Our results indicate that sevenless gene function is only required during a brief, defined period for the initiation of R7 development; subsequently sevenless is dispensable for both differentiation and function of the R7 photoreceptors. Furthermore, using rescue of R7 cells as an internal marker to monitor the progression of eye development we could examine when and at what rate ommatidial columns form.

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