Transcriptional Activation of the Zygotic Genome in Drosophila

Curr Top Dev Biol. 2015;113:85-112. doi: 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2015.07.028. Epub 2015 Aug 19.


During the first stages of metazoan development, the genomes of the highly specified sperm and egg must unite and be reprogrammed to allow for the generation of a new organism. This process is controlled by maternally deposited products. Initially, the zygotic genome is largely transcriptionally quiescent, and it is not until hours later that the zygotic genome takes control of development. The transcriptional activation of the zygotic genome is tightly coordinated with the degradation of the maternal products. Here, we review the current understanding of the processes that mediate the reprogramming of the early embryonic genome and facilitate transcriptional activation during the early stages of Drosophila development.

Keywords: Chromatin; Differentiation; Drosophila; Gene expression; Zygotic genome activation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genome, Insect*
  • Models, Biological
  • Transcriptional Activation / genetics*
  • Zygote / metabolism*


  • Chromatin