Larval and pupal testes of Drosophila melanogaster were fixed with a methanol/acetone fixation procedure that results in good preservation of cell morphology; fixed cells viewed by phase-contrast optics exhibit most of the structural details that can be seen in live material. Fixed testis preparations were treated with anti-tubulin antibodies and Hoechst 33258 to selectively stain microtubules and DNA. The combined analysis of cell morphology, chromatin and microtubule organization allowed a fine cytological dissection of gonial cell multiplication, spermatocyte development, meiosis and the early stages of spermatid differentiation. We placed special emphasis on the spermatocyte growth phase and the meiotic divisions, providing a description of these processes that is much more detailed than those previously reported. In addition, by means of bromo-deoxyuridine incorporation experiments, we were able to demonstrate that premeiotic DNA synthesis occurs very early during spermatocyte growth.

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