The effects of zygotic lethal mutations on female germ-line functions in Drosophila

Dev Biol. 1984 Oct;105(2):404-14. doi: 10.1016/0012-1606(84)90297-5.


Many genetic loci that result in lethality when mutated may also have an essential role in oogenesis. The maternal effects of EMS-induced zygotic lethal mutations at 48 loci were examined using the dominant female-sterile technique. Three categories of effects were found. In the first group (13 out of 48), no maternal effect was detected. The second set (20 out of 48) exhibited maternal effects on oogenesis, embryogenesis, or both. In 13 of this last group, only a few eggs were produced before a progressive deterioration of development occurred. It is suggested that perdurance of the wild-type gene product could produce this result. The third group (15 out of 48) produced cell lethality in germ-line clones, an effect that may be related to their role in indispensable cell functions. Three loci were found which, in germ-line clones, produced embryonic phenotypes that resemble maternal effect mutations. The implications of this study for the genetic analysis of early development are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Clone Cells
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology
  • Female
  • Genes, Lethal*
  • Heterozygote
  • Larva / physiology
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Oocytes / physiology
  • Oogenesis*
  • Phenotype