A key aspect of determination--the acquisition and propagation of cell fates--is the initiation of patterns of selector gene expression and their maintenance in groups of cells as they divide and develop. In Drosophila, in those groups of cells where particular selector genes must remain inactive, it is the Polycomb-Group of genes that keep them silenced. Here we show that M33, a mouse homologue of the Drosophila Polycomb protein, can substitute for Polycomb in transgenic flies. Polycomb protein is thought to join with other Polycomb-Group proteins to build a complex that silences selector genes. Since members of this group of proteins have their homologues in mice, our results suggest that the molecular mechanism of cell determination is widely conserved.

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