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Dev Genet. 1993;14(5):369-77.

Developmental requirements for the ecdysoneless (ecd) locus in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro 27412-5001.


The ecdysoneless locus in Drosophila melanogaster has been defined previously by a single conditional mutation, I(3)ecd1, that causes an ecdysteroid deficit and larval death at the restrictive temperature, 29 degrees C, although the primary role of the mutation in developmental processes has been unclear. Gene dosage and complementation studies reported here for ecd1 and five nonconditional lethal alleles indicate that the ecd locus plays prezygotic and postzygotic roles essential for normal embryonic development, the successful completion of each larval molt, adult eclosion, and female fertility. The ecd locus is also required for normal macrochaete differentiation. For each observed phenotype, the severity of mutational effects was correlated with ecd mutant genotypes. In all cases, ecd1 homozygotes were least affected. Mutants heteroallelic for ecd1 and any one of four nonconditional recessive mutations were more severely affected than ecd1 homozygotes, revealing these as hypomorphic alleles. For all phenotypic effects, mutants heteroallelic for ecd1 and a dominant mutation (ecd3D) were most severely affected. These individuals died during embryogenesis at 29 degrees C and developed no macrochaetes on the dorsal thorax when transferred to 29 degrees C during the white prepupal stage. The ecd3D mutation also caused female semisterility in heterozygotes. Ecdysteroid regulation has been implicated previously in all the developmental processes disrupted by these ecd mutations except for macrochaete differentiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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