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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1994 Feb;4(1):8-13.

Neuronal cell fate specification in Drosophila.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Departments of Physiology and Biochemistry, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0724.


Recent work indicates that the Drosophila nervous system develops in a progressive process of cell fate specification. Expression of specific proneural genes in clusters of cells (the proneural clusters) in the cellular blastoderm endows these cells with the potential to form certain types of neural precursors. Intercellular interactions that involve both proneural genes and neurogenic genes then allow the neural precursors to be singled out from the proneural clusters. Expression of neural precursor genes in all neural precursors is likely to account for the universal aspects of neuronal differentiation, such as axonal outgrowth. Selective expression of certain neuronal-type selector genes further specifies the type of neuron(s) that a neural precursor will produce.

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