DEVELOPMENT: Timing Out

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Science  10 Nov 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5801, pp. 895b
DOI: 10.1126/science.314.5801.895b

In response to adverse conditions, some animals enter into reproductive or developmental arrest (for example, mammalian hibernation, insect diapause, and worm dauer-stage formation). Williams et al. examine the molecular contributors to Drosophila diapause, an overwintering strategy. By evaluating natural diapause variants representing different climates (one from Canada and one from the southern United States), genetic variation was mapped to the Dp110 locus, coding for phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase). They found that a reduction in dosage of Dp110 increased the proportion of flies in diapause, but neuronal expression of Dp110, reduced it. Hence, effects on Drosophila diapause are seen upon altering signaling from the insulin-regulated PI 3-kinase pathway. The conservation of this pathway in the fly and Caenorhabditis elegans as revealed by the involvement of PI 3-kinase in diapause and dauer formation, respectively, provides a link between reproductive and developmental arrest. — BAP

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 103, 15911 (2006).

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