The primordia for heart, fat body, and visceral and somatic muscles arise in specific areas of each segment in the Drosophila mesoderm. We show that the primordium of the somatic muscles, which expresses high levels of twist, a crucial factor of somatic muscle determination, is lost in sloppy-paired mutants. Simultaneously, the primordium of the visceral muscles is expanded. The visceral muscle and fat body primordia require even-skipped for their development and the mesoderm is thought to be unsegmented in even-skipped mutants. However, we find that even-skipped mutants retain the segmental modulation of the expression of twist. Both the domain of even-skipped function and the level of twist expression are regulated by sloppy-paired. sloppy-paired thus controls segmental allocation of mesodermal cells to different fates.

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