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Molnar, C., Casado, M., L√≥pez-Varea, A., Cruz, C., de Celis, J.F. (2012). Genetic annotation of gain-of-function screens using RNA interference and in situ hybridization of candidate genes in the Drosophila wing.  Genetics 192(2): 741--752.
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Research paper

Gain-of-function screens in Drosophila are an effective method with which to identify genes that affect the development of particular structures or cell types. It has been found that a fraction of 2-10% of the genes tested, depending on the particularities of the screen, results in a discernible phenotype when overexpressed. However, it is not clear to what extent a gain-of-function phenotype generated by overexpression is informative about the normal function of the gene. Thus, very few reports attempt to correlate the loss- and overexpression phenotype for collections of genes identified in gain-of-function screens. In this work we use RNA interference and in situ hybridization to annotate a collection of 123 P-GS insertions that in combination with different Gal4 drivers affect the size and/or patterning of the wing. We identify the gene causing the overexpression phenotype by expressing, in a background of overexpression, RNA interference for the genes affected by each P-GS insertion. Then, we compare the loss and gain-of-function phenotypes obtained for each gene and relate them to its expression pattern in the wing disc. We find that 52% of genes identified by their overexpression phenotype are required during normal development. However, only in 9% of the cases analyzed was there some complementarity between the gain- and loss-of-function phenotype, suggesting that, in general, the overexpression phenotypes would not be indicative of the normal requirements of the gene.

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PMC3454894 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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