The art and design of genetic screens: Drosophila melanogaster

Nat Rev Genet. 2002 Mar;3(3):176-88. doi: 10.1038/nrg751.


The success of Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism is largely due to the power of forward genetic screens to identify the genes that are involved in a biological process. Traditional screens, such as the Nobel-prize-winning screen for embryonic-patterning mutants, can only identify the earliest phenotype of a mutation. This review describes the ingenious approaches that have been devised to circumvent this problem: modifier screens, for example, have been invaluable for elucidating signal-transduction pathways, whereas clonal screens now make it possible to screen for almost any phenotype in any cell at any stage of development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic
  • Eye / growth & development
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Insect
  • Genes, Suppressor
  • Genetic Testing / methods*
  • Male
  • Mutagenesis
  • Phenotype