Instructor: Marc Halfon
Topic: Segmentation and patterning in Drosophila
In the next few weeks, we'll use Drosophila to explore the general mechanisms of pattern formation during embryonic development. We'll look at early axis formation, segmentation, and establishment of segmental identity. At the end of these four weeks, you'll understand the basics of how an animal is built from a single cell into a multi-cellular organism with the right organs in the right places!
This week we'll discuss pattern formation in the anterior-posterior axis, using mainly a lecture format. In the successive weeks, we'll learn about dorsal-ventral patterning by reading in depth a series of the key papers that elucidated the process. It's important to make sure the reading is done thoroughly and on time.
The "recommended reading" chapters below can provide details and clarifications if the papers get confusing. Most of the lecture figures are drawn from these two sources, as well.
Assigned reading: This paper should be read BEFORE the first class on Sept. 20.
A seminal paper in the history of developmental genetics describing work for which the authors were awarded the 1995 Nobel prize. We will go over the major findings both in their historical context and in light of what is known today.
A brief, but very clear and up-to-date treatment of pattern formation in Drosophila.
Gilbert, "Developmental Biology (9th ed.)," Chapter 6.
A more in-depth treatment than that found in Wolpert; more detail than we'll cover in class, but worth the read.
Eric Wieschaus' Nobel lecture gives a more personal spin on the segmentation screens.
Slides and lecture notes will be posted here following class :
If the gene names and fly-speak in the paper are getting you confused, the Interactive Fly gives a nice synopsis of what many of these genes do and where they act in development.
The internet source for all things Drosophila is Flybase: http://flybase.bio.indiana.edu
Ever wonder how fly genes ended up with their often whimsical names? Try Flynome for etymologies of many genes, such as ken and barbie and seven up. http://www.flynome.org/