possesses only two cell types: mortal somatic cells and potentially immortal asexual reproductive cells called gonidia. Mutational analysis indicates that three categories of genes play central roles in programming this germ-soma division of labor: First the genes function during embryogenesis to cause asymmetric divisions that produce large and small cells. Then the genes act in the large cells (gonidial initials) to repress functions required for somatic development while the locus acts in the small cells (somatic initials) to repress functions required for reproductive development. Transposon tagging and DNA transformation have recently been used to recover and characterize the and genes, and the sequences of these genes lead to testable hypotheses about how they play their roles in germ-soma differentiation.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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