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EMBO J. 1988 Jan;7(1):205-14.

Gap genes define the limits of antennapedia and bithorax gene expression during early development in Drosophila.

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Department of Biological Sciences Fairchild Center, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.


The maintenance of selective patterns of homeotic gene expression within the Drosophila CNS involves cross-regulatory interactions among the genes of the antennapedia and bithorax complexes (ANT-C and BX-C). Such a mechanism does not appear to be responsible for the establishment of these selective expression patterns during early development. Here we show that mutations in several of the gap genes strongly alter the early patterns of Antp and Abd-B expression. The altered patterns that are observed do not always correlate with simple expectations based on cuticular pattern defects observed in advanced-stage mutants. It appears that the initial patterns of Antp and Abd-B expression involve their differential regulation by a common set of gap genes. We propose that the gap genes are largely responsible for integrating the processes of segmentation and homeosis.

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