DATABASE: To Build a Fly

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Science  03 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5702, pp. 1661
DOI: 10.1126/science.306.5702.1661b

An inert egg can't morph into a flitting fruit fly without tinman and Mothers against dpp, klumpfuss and knirps, legless, heartless, tailless, and hairless. Find out how these and more than 600 other genes mold Drosophila development at the Interactive Fly, created 9 years ago by neurogeneticist Thomas Brody of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and hosted by the Society for Developmental Biology.

The genetic encyclopedia includes detailed accounts of each gene's role in shaping the insect. tinman, for instance, is vital for heart formation, and knirps helps with construction of a wing vein. You can browse the genes alphabetically, by pathway, or by function. The site also brims with background information on fly formation, including a developmental atlas. A gallery links to FlyMove from the University of Münster in Germany, where you can screen videos and animations of the stages from egg to grub.

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