Mosaic analysis gives an estimate of the extent of genomic involvement in the development of the visual system in Drosophila melanogaster

Harshwardhan Thaker, D. R. Kankel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations


To investigate the role of vital loci in the development of the visual system of Drosophila, we induced mitotic recombination in individuals heterozygous for recessive organismal lethals and selected for analysis the resulting mosaics with homozygous mutant eye clones. Heads bearing clones were serially sectioned, silver-stained and examined for aberrations in the ommatidia and the neural structures to which they project. In our screen of 68 lines bearing diepoxybutane-induced X-linked lethals, 26 yielded few or no homozygous mutant clones (putative cell-lethals). Of the rest, 20 lines produced individuals with morphologically abnormal eye clones showing various degrees of aberrations in the ommatidial architecture. In 14 of these 20, the laminar cartridges innervated by the mutant clones were also disorganized. Clones with normal structure were found in 18 of the lines, and three lines were resistant to the induction of mitotic recombination. In a single line, comparatively normal clones in the eye projected to a lamina with subtle but consistent abnormalities. To the extent that we have a representative sample, these results suggest that about two-thirds of all vital genes may be essential for the normal assembly and neural connectivity of the eye. This points to a high degree of pleiotropy in the manner in which information in the genome of the fly is used in development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)883-894
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

Cite this