To identify early requirements for zygotic gene activity in Drosophila, we used compound autosomes and autosome-Y translocations to generate embryos deficient for cytologically defined portions of the genome. No obvious gross morphological defects were observed in any deficiency class until the beginning of cycle 14. Only seven autosomal regions were identified with discrete effects visible prior to the onset of gastrulation. These regions include genes with locus-specific effects on the clearing of the cortical cytoplasm during early cycle 14, (22AB), the initiation of the slow and fast phases of cellularization (26BF and 40AC, respectively), the apical-basal distribution of nuclei during cycle 14 (71C-75C) and the closing off of furrow canals during cellularization (100AC). The distal tip of the third chromosome also contains two loci (99DF and 100AC) whose deletion causes multiple nuclei to be cellularized into single cells, a phenotype similar to that produced in embryos totally lacking the X-chromosome.

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