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A genetic analysis of visual system development in Drosophilia melanogaster

Meyerowitz, Elliot M. and Kankel, Douglas R. (1978) A genetic analysis of visual system development in Drosophilia melanogaster. Developmental Biology, 62 (1). pp. 112-142. ISSN 0012-1606. doi:10.1016/0012-1606(78)90096-9.

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The eyes and optic lobes of adult Drosophila melanogaster comprise a highly organized system of interconnected neurons. The eye and optic lobe primordia are physically separate during the embryonic and larval stages of development, and these tissues do not come into contact until the third larval instar, as a consequence of axons growing from the receptor cells of the developing eyes to the primordial optic lobes. After this contact, the axons of the eyes arrange themselves into their complex and orderly adult pattern. Simultaneously, the optic lobe cells begin elaborating axons which organize into their precise adult array. One question posed by this system is: Does cellular pattern formation in either the eyes or optic lobes depend on eye-brain interactions, or do the two tissues organize autonomously? To answer this question, mutations were found which cause abnormal ommatidial array in the eyes and which also perturb the normal adult axon array in the optic lobes. By means of X ray-induced somatic recombination and by genetically controlled mitotic chromosome loss (gynandromorph formation), flies mosaic for genotypically mutant and normal tissue were constructed. Analysis of the neuronal array in mosaic flies in which eye and optic lobe tissue differed genotypically showed that the axon array phenotype of the optic lobe depends on the genotype of the eye tissue innervating that lobe, while the eye phenotype does not depend on optic lobe genotype. Thus, the axonal organization of the D. melanogaster optic lobe has been shown to depend on the transmission of information from the eyes to the optic lobes.

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Meyerowitz, Elliot M.0000-0003-4798-5153
Additional Information:© 1978 Elsevier. Received 6 June 1977, Accepted 16 September 1977. The bulk of this work was submitted by E.M.M. in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Yale University. The work was supported by USPHS Grant NS 11788 and ACS Institutional Grant ACS IN-31-N-5 to D.R.K., and by a small Grant-in-Aid of Research from Sigma Xi to E.M.M. E.M.M. was a predoctoral fellow of the NSF, a predoctoral trainee of the USPHS (GM 02299), and also received support from ACS Institutional Grant ACS-IN-31-P-19. We thank Dr. Alan Pooley for the preparation of the scanning electron micrographs.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS)NS-11788
American Cancer SocietyIN-31-N-5
NSF Predoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
NIH Predoctoral FellowshipGM-02299
American Cancer SocietyIN-31-P-19
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Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161212-155053716
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Official Citation:Elliot M. Meyerowitz, Douglas R. Kankel, A genetic analysis of visual system development in Drosophilia melanogaster, Developmental Biology, Volume 62, Issue 1, 1978, Pages 112-142, ISSN 0012-1606, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:72736
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:13 Dec 2016 00:10
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 05:05

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