Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

(Please correct me if I'm wrong on any count here).

As I understand it, development requires the action of numerous genes and proteins. My textbook has described it as being almost reminiscent of a cascading sequence. It is comprised of:

  1. Maternal effect genes/Egg-polarity genes - These are cytoplasmic determinants from the mother.
  2. Gap genes
  3. Pair-rule genes
  4. Segment-polarity genes
  5. Homeotic genes (these determine what structures are placed where on the body axis).
  6. Other embryonic genes

The issue is my text only described 1 and 5 in any depth - items 2-4 are merely named. I don't know what 6 is, though I imagine these genes actually code for proteins that build the structures (e.g. eyes in Drosophila). The same is true for 2-4, which I believe are segmentation genes, in that they are responsible for directing segment formation.

Could someone please clarify what these actually are, and why they're given such (seemingly) unusual names?

share|improve this question

closed as too broad by WYSIWYG, Chris, biogirl, MattDMo, fileunderwater Mar 24 at 23:29

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I don't know which text you follow but I would suggest that you read Developmental Biology by Scott F Gilbert. All these questions are addressed. BTW, the ebook is also available. –  WYSIWYG Mar 21 at 5:06
I use Campbell and Reece (for AP biology). –  Ayesha Mar 21 at 23:18

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.