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Mech Dev. 1997 Aug;66(1-2):143-56.

Comparison of bicoid-dependent regulation of hunchback between Musca domestica and Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, UK.


Co-evolution between developmental regulatory elements is an important mechanism of evolution. This work compares the hunchback-bicoid interaction in the housefly Musca domestica with Drosophila melanogaster. The Musca HUNCHBACK protein is 66% conserved and partially rescues a hunchback mutant, yet the BICOID-dependent promoter (P2) of Musca hunchback is unexpectedly diverged from D. melanogaster. Introduced into D. melanogaster, this promoter drives a normal P2 pattern during the syncytial blastoderm stage but is expressed ectopically at the anterior pole of the embryo at later stages. We also report differences in the early expression of hunchback in Musca. We suggest that conservation of the morphogenetic function of bicoid in different sized embryos of higher diptera requires co-evolution of bicoid and its target binding sites.

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