We have analysed four strains of Drosophila melanogaster which each carry the transposon P[lac,ry+] at a unique genomic location. In one of the strains, P[lac,ry+]A37, all the peripheral neurones that we can identify express the P-lac fusion protein; in at least some cases, and the support cells associated to particular neurones are also labelled. Expression of the fusion protein can be detected in subepidermal cells of the body segments as early as 4–5 h of development, according to a precise and reproducible pattern. On the basis of genetic evidence, we propose that these cells are precursors of sense organs, implying that the development of the peripheral nervous system overlaps in time with the development of the central nervous system. In the other three strains, the fusion product is expressed in unique subsets of cells of the peripheral nervous system, as well as in some other tissues.

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