A multifaceted approach to neural development

Trends Neurosci. 1989 Mar;12(3):102-10. doi: 10.1016/0166-2236(89)90166-5.


The developing compound eye of the fruit fly, Drosophila offers notable advantages for a study of neural differentiation. It is a sensitive amplifier of a simple neural module; each eye is an approximately 700-fold repetition of the unit eye or ommatidium, which is a precise, stereotyped assembly of photoreceptors and accessory cells. The eye develops in a monolayer epithelium, which greatly reduces the complexities of cell-cell interactions often encountered in CNS development, and has permitted a detailed, cell-by-cell description of cell behavior during ommatidial development. Finally, the foundation of fly genetics permits a mutational analysis of eye development and the advanced molecular genetics of Drosophila allows close scrutiny of genes of interest. A recent convergence of cellular, genetic and molecular studies of ommatidial development suggests a model for neural differentiation in the fly eye.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Drosophila / anatomy & histology
  • Drosophila / growth & development*
  • Eye / cytology
  • Eye / embryology
  • Eye / growth & development*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology