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With the most recent releases of the Drosophila melanogaster genome sequences, much of the previously absent heterochromatic sequences have now been annotated. We undertook an extensive genetic analysis of existing lethal mutations, as well as molecular mapping and sequence analysis (using a candidate gene approach) to identify as many essential genes as possible in the centromeric heterochromatin on the right arm of the second chromosome (2Rh) of D. melanogaster. We also utilized available RNA interference lines to knock down the expression of genes in 2Rh as another approach to identifying essential genes. In total, we verified the existence of eight novel essential loci in 2Rh: CG17665, CG17683, CG17684, CG17883, CG40127, CG41265, CG42595, and Atf6. Two of these essential loci, CG41265 and CG42595, are synonymous with the previously characterized loci l(2)41Ab and unextended, respectively. The genetic and molecular analysis of the previously reported locus, l(2)41Ae, revealed that this is not a single locus, but rather it is a large region of 2Rh that extends from unextended (CG42595) to CG17665 and includes four of the novel loci uncovered here.


Alistair B Coulthard, Christina Alm, Iulia Cealiac, Don A Sinclair, Barry M Honda, Fabrizio Rossi, Patrizio Dimitri, Arthur J Hilliker. Essential loci in centromeric heterochromatin of Drosophila melanogaster. I: the right arm of chromosome 2. Genetics. 2010 Jun;185(2):479-95

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PMID: 20382826

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