Genetic control of retinal specification and determination in Drosophila

Int J Dev Biol. 2004;48(8-9):913-24. doi: 10.1387/ijdb.041875kp.


The Drosophila compound eye has long served as an outstanding model system to study many processes, including cell fate specification, cell division, cell growth and cell death. In addition, exploring the molecular basis of eye specification in Drosophila has identified a set of nuclear factors that trigger the conversion of a group of multipotent epithelial cells into eye primordia. These nuclear factors act in complex networks to regulate retinal specification and appear to be conserved throughout phylogeny. Finally, evidence suggests that these nuclear networks have been co-opted to specify cell fates in other tissues. We review the latest developments in the field of retinal specification in Drosophila and discuss several future directions that remain open for investigation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Drosophila / embryology*
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Models, Biological
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate / embryology*
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases / metabolism
  • Retina / embryology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Time Factors


  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases