The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 33: 455 - 466 (1989)

Vol 33, Issue 4

Modeling the regulation of the bithorax complex in Drosophila melanogaster: the phenotypic effects of Ubx, abd-A and Abd-B heterozygotic larvae, and a homozygous Ubx- abd A hybrid gene

Published: 15 December 1989

M Carratalá, I Vernós, R Ransom and R Marco

Departamento de Bioquímica de la UAM, Madrid, Spain.


As an intermediate step in the development of a defined quantitative model of pattern formation during Drosophila segmentation, we present here a model capable of predicting the experimentally determined levels of gene activity and their phenotypic consequences. In its present form, the model includes only four genes: the three genes of the bithorax complex (Ubx, abd-A and Abd-B) and Antennapedia. It is shown that the model is quite robust, predicting many properties in the behavior of these genes. A previously undescribed property is that all of these genes should phenotypically exhibit some kind of haploinsufficiency when present in only a single dose in the genetic background of the animal. This is shown both by the model and by a new method of quantitatively analyzing the differences in the more obvious cuticular features of the larvae, i.e., the patterns in the ventral denticle belts. The model is also capable of dealing with a complicated genetic situation, a hybrid gene of Ubx and abd-A produced by the C1 deletion.

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