We have developed a ‘directed mosaic’ system in Drosophila by using the GAL4 system to control the expression of the yeast recombinase, FLP, in a spatial and temporal fashion. By directing FLP expression, we show that it is possible to efficiently and specifically target loss-of-function studies for vital loci to the developmental pathway of interest. A simple F1 adult phenotypic screen demonstrated that most adult tissues can be analyzed with this approach. Using GAL4 lines expressed during oogenesis, we have refined the system to examine the roles of vital loci in the development of the follicular epithelium. We have identified essential genes involved in egg chamber organization, cell migration and cell shape. Further, we have used this technique to gain insights into the role of the Drosophila EGF receptor pathway in establishing the egg axes. Finally, using different UAS-FLP, GAL4 and existing FRT lines, we have built stocks that permit the analysis of approximately 95% of the genome in follicular mosaics.

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