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Published February 12, 1993 | public
Journal Article

The eyes absent gene: Genetic control of cell survival and differentiation in the developing Drosophila eye


The eyes absent (eya) gene is required at an early stage in development of the D. melanogaster compound eye. In eya mutants, progenitor cells in the eye disc undergo programmed cell death anterior to the morphogenetic furrow, rather than proceeding into the pathway of retinal differentiation. A low level of cell death normally occurs at this stage, suggesting that eya activity influences the distribution of cells between differentiation and death. Molecular analysis identifies a nuclear protein expressed in progenitor cells prior to differentiation. Transformation with the cDNA prevents progenitor cell death and allows the events that generate the eye to proceed. eya activity is required for the survival of eye progenitor cells at a critical stage in morphogenesis.

Additional Information

© 1993 Cell Press. Received September 28, 1992; revised December 4, 1992. It is a pleasure to acknowledge the excellent technical assistance of the Benzer lab support staff: D. Cepoi. L. Dowling, E. Eichenberger, C. Pham, and R. Young. For critical reading of the manuscript, we thank E. Schwarz, Drs. S. Celniker, A. Golden, H. Lipshitz. J. Pollock, P. Renfranz, P. Stemberg, J. Topol, and S. L. Zipursky. We thank those who generously shared mutants, clones, libraries, and techniques, and we express special thanks to Dr. R. Hackett, who made initial observations of the eye phenotype and generated many alleles. This investigation was supported by the American Cancer Society, California Division, Fellowship S-48-91 and American Cancer Society, National Office, Postdoctoral Fellowship PF-4000 (to N. M. B.) and research grants from the National Science Foundation (8908154) and National Institutes of Health (EY09278; to S. B.). GenBank Accession Number: The accession numbers for the two sequences reported in this paper are LO8501 and LO8502.

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October 20, 2023