A method for estimating the number of blastoderm cells which give rise to Drosophila imaginal discs

Theor Appl Genet. 1977 Jan;49(1):3-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00304816.


A mathematical method for calculating the number of blastoderm cells whose descendants form the various imaginal discs is described. The method differs from available approaches in two respects: (1) It is based only upon the frequency of mosaicism of the adult derivatives of a given imaginal disc and ignores the relative surface area of the two genetically marked cell populations which comprise these derivatives. (2) The method estimates the average number of cells at the blastoderm stage which give rise to a particular imaginal disc and not at the developmental stage at which restriction of the pool of cells which will form this imaginal disc occurs. Despite their methodological differences the estimates obtained from this method and from other approaches are of the same order of magnitude and thus provide further support to the currently available estimates and to the notion that restriction of whole imaginal discs occurs at the blastoderm stage. The proposed method also provides a quantitative approximation of the non-linear relationship that exists between the frequencies of mosaicism of different imaginal discs and the number of cells which comprise these discs.