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The legacy of Drosophila imaginal discs

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Review article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2016
Author Beira Jorge V., Paro Renato,
Project Mechanisms of transcriptional memory in response to developmental and environmental stimuli
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Review article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Chromosoma
Page(s) 1 - 20
Title of proceedings Chromosoma
DOI 10.1007/s00412-016-0595-4

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


The study of Drosophila imaginal discs has con- tributed to a number of discoveries in developmental and cel- lular biology. In addition to the elucidation of the role of tissue compartments and organ-specific master regulator genes dur- ing development, imaginal discs have also become well established as models for studying cellular interactions and complex genetic pathways. Here, we review key discoveries resulting from investigations of these epithelial precursor or- gans, ranging from cell fate determination and transdetermination to tissue patterning. Furthermore, the de- sign of increasingly sophisticated genetic tools over the last decades has added value to the use of imaginal discs as model systems. As a result of tissue-specific genetic screens, several components of developmentally regulated signaling pathways were identified and epistasis revealed the levels at which they function. Discs have been widely used to assess cellular inter- actions in their natural tissue context, contributing to a better understanding of growth regulation, tissue regeneration, and cancer. With the continuous implementation of novel tools, imaginal discs retain significant potential as model systems to address emerging questions in biology and medicine.