Position effect variegation in Drosophila: towards a genetics of chromatin assembly

Bioessays. 1989 Jul;11(1):14-7. doi: 10.1002/bies.950110105.


The formation of a highly condensed chromosome structure (heterochromatin) in a region of a eukaryotic chromosome can inactivate the genes within that region. Genetic studies using the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster have identified several essential genes which influence the formation of heterochromatin. My purpose in this review is to summarize some recent work on the genetics of heterochromatin assembly in Drosophila and a recent model for how chromosomal proteins may interact to form a heterochromatic structure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Heterochromatin / genetics*
  • Heterochromatin / metabolism


  • Heterochromatin