Research NewsDevelopmental Biology

Sifting Mitosis, Cell Fate in Fly Eyes

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Science  10 Nov 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5238, pp. 916
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5238.916


Exactly how cell division and cell fate determination are related during embryonic development has been a mystery. In the fruit fly, for example, one possibility is that the two waves of cell division (mitosis) that sweep through the developing eyes set the genetic switches that enable the cells to respond to developmental signals from their neighbors. But by engineering flies with a human gene that prevents the second mitotic wave, researchers show in this issue of Science (p. 983) that cell division is not required for the subsequent round of differentiation, although it is necessary for the eye to have adequate numbers of all cell types. A similar pattern may occur elsewhere in development, biologists speculate.