A genetic assay for the detection of aneuploidy in the germ-line cells of Drosophila melanogaster

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A 2-generation assay is described for the detection of aneuploidy in the germ-line cells of Drosophila melanogaster. Larvae and adult females that carry marker mutations are exposed to test compounds, and the F2 generation is scored for exceptional phenotypes. As a consequence of nondisjunction and/or loss of the sex chromosomes, 5 exceptional phenotypes appear. These phenotypes are often indicative of specific types of nondisjunction. Based on the time course and the pattern of exception production of the treated parents, aneuploidy due to meiotic and mitotic defects can be separated. The genetic analysis of the exceptions reveals whether nondisjunction has occurred due to failure of the spindle fibres to disjoin chromosomes or attachment of the chromosomes. The described assay is an extension of the so-called Somatic Mutation and Recombination Test (SMART) and allows screening for different genetic endpoints: aneuploidy, recombinogenic and mutagenic activities in the same treatment. The effects of colchicine and EMS are described with respect to the induction of (i) aneuploidy in the germ line and (ii) somatic mutation and recombination in the eyes, wings and female germ-line cells. Colchicine induces aneuploidy in the germ-line cells while the frequency of mosaic spots does not increase after colchicine treatment. This result suggest that aneuploidy plays little (if any) role in the formation of mosaic spots. Colchicine induces nondisjunction in the mitotically rather than in the meiotically dividing germ-line cells. EMS, as expected, induces high frequency of somatic mutation and recombination but not aneuploidy in the female germ line.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-326
Number of pages22
JournalMutation Research/Environmental Mutagenesis and Related Subjects
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Genetics

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