Permissive and Instructive Anterior Patterning Rely on mRNA Localization in the Wasp Embryo

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Science  30 Mar 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5820, pp. 1841-1843
DOI: 10.1126/science.1137528

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The long-germ mode of embryogenesis, in which segments arise simultaneously along the anteriorposterior axis, has evolved several times in different lineages of the holometabolous, or fully metamorphosing, insects. Drosophila's long-germ fate map is established largely by the activity of the dipteran-specific Bicoid (Bcd) morphogen gradient, which operates both instructively and permissively to accomplish anterior patterning. By contrast, all nondipteran long-germ insects must achieve anterior patterning independently of bcd. We show that bcd's permissive function is mimicked in the wasp by a maternal repression system in which anterior localization of the wasp ortholog of giant represses anterior expression of the trunk gap genes so that head and thorax can properly form.

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