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Science 315 (5820): 1841-1843

Copyright © 2007 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

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

Ava E. Brent, Gozde Yucel, Stephen Small, Claude Desplan*

Abstract: 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.

New York University, Department of Biology, Center for Developmental Genetics, 100 Washington Square East, New York, NY 10003, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: cd38{at}

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