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Gradual acquisition of the developmental capacity to differentiate adult structures by the genital disc of drosophila melanogaster

, : Gradual acquisition of the developmental capacity to differentiate adult structures by the genital disc of drosophila melanogaster. Roux's Archives of Developmental Biology 201(2): 105-112

Diplo-X flies homozygous for the transformer-2ts (tra-2ts) mutation develop into females at C, while they develop into males at C (Belote and Baker 1982). By means of this conditional mutation, we have carried out a detailed analysis of the development of the genital disc. Temperature shifts between 16 and C, in both directions, and temperature pulses at C, have been applied during the larval growth of tra-2ts homozygotes diplo-X flies, and the external derivatives of the genital disc have been analyzed. Genital discs shifted from 16 to C rapidly lose their capacity to differentiate female genital structures, while they become able to differentiate male genital structures whose inventory is more complete the earlier in larval development the temperature shift is carried out; moreover, duplicated male genital structures were observed. In the shift from 29 to C, the genital disc loses its capacity to differentiate male genital structures, while it becomes able to differentiate female genital structures. The inventory of male structures is smaller, and the inventory of the female structures is more complete, the earlier in larval development the temperature is shifted. No duplicated female or male genital structures were observed in the downshift experiment. With respect to the analia, the shift from 16 to C resulted in the quick formation of pure male and anal plates, while in the opposite shift the formation of pure female anal plates occurred gradually. Moreover, the time course for the dorsal and ventral anal plates to show normal female phenotype was different: when the dorsal anal plates were completely normal, it was still possible to find incomplete ventral anal plates. In the pulse experiment at C, the genital disc is able to differentiate both female and male genital structures, although the inventory of the latter ones was not complete. In addition, the capacity of the genital disc to differentiate male genital structures depended on the duration of the temperature pulse. The anal plates were always female, although they showed a reduction in their size, the ventral female anal plate being more affected that the dorsal one. No male anal plates were observed. The results have revealed that the genital disc follows a sequence in its capacity to differentiate female or male adult structures. We suggest that this sequence reflects the sequence of determination events occurring in the genital disc during its larval growth. In addition, results shown here provide evidence for the existence in the female genital primordium of a set of cells capable of giving rise either to female genital structures (ventral vaginal plates) or to male genital structures (hypandrium and penis apparatus). We also present evidence supporting the previous idea of two primordia for the anal plates.


DOI: 10.1007/bf00420421

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