Int. J. Dev. Biol. 40: 197 - 204 (1996)
© UPV/EHU Press

Larval and imaginal pathways in early development of Drosophila.

R Harbecke, M Meise, A Holz, R Klapper, E Naffin, V Nordhoff and W Janning

Institut für Allgemeine Zoologie und Genetik, Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany.

ABSTRACT In holometabolous development, higher insects have two different life forms, the larva and the imago. Both larval and imaginal cells are derived from cells of the blastoderm stage. After the final embryonic wave of mitosis, however, only the imaginal cells remain diploid, proliferate massively and do not differentiate until metamorphosis. The separation of these two pathways was described by many authors as a fundamental process that must take place at a very early stage of development, most probably the blastoderm stage. Mainly by using single cell transplantations at the blastoderm or early gastrula stages, respectively, we found common cell lineages between larval and imaginal structures by clones overlapping in the ectoderm (i.e. larval epidermal cells and imaginal discs within a segment, or larval and imaginal salivary gland cells), the mesoderm (i.e. larval somatic muscles and adepithelial cells), and the endoderm (i.e. larval and imaginal midgut cells). From these findings we conclude that it seems to be a principle in Drosophila embryogenesis that the separation of larval and imaginal pathways is postponed to a later developmental stage.