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Patterns of Gene Expression in Drosophila Embryogenesis

Database of embryonic expression patterns using a high throughput RNA in situ hybridization of the protein-coding genes identified in the Drosophila melanogaster genome with images and controlled vocabulary annotations. At the end of production pipeline gene expression patterns are documented by taking a large number of digital images of individual embryos. The quality and identity of the captured image data are verified by independently derived microarray time-course analysis of gene expression using Affymetrix GeneChip technology. Gene expression patterns are annotated with controlled vocabulary for developmental anatomy of Drosophila embryogenesis. Image, microarray and annotation data are stored in a modified version of Gene Ontology database and the entire dataset is available on the web in browsable and searchable form or MySQL dump can be downloaded. So far, they have examined expression of 7507 genes and documented them with 111184 digital photographs.

URL: http://insitu.fruitfly.org/cgi-bin/ex/insitu.pl

Resource ID: nif-0000-25550     Resource Type: Resource     Version: Latest Version


embryo, embryogenesis, gene, anatomy, microarray, pattern, protocol, rna, gene expression, expression pattern, embryonic drosophila, in situ hybridization, annotation, est

Funding Information

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, NIH, P50 GH00750, R01 GM076655, HG00750, P41 HG00739

Old URLs




Related To



BDGP insitu

Parent Organization


BDGP Embryonic Expression Patterns

Additional Resource Types

Image Collection, Database, Source Code



Original Submitter


Version Status


Submitted On

12:00am September 21, 2010

Originated From


Changes from Previous Version

    No Changes

    Version 4

    Created 2 weeks ago by Christie Wang

    Version 3

    Created 3 weeks ago by Christie Wang

    Version 2

    Created 3 weeks ago by Christie Wang

    Version 1

    Created 5 years ago by Anonymous

    Systematic determination of patterns of gene expression during Drosophila embryogenesis.

    • Tomancak P
    • Genome Biol.
    • 2002 22

    BACKGROUND: Cell-fate specification and tissue differentiation during development are largely achieved by the regulation of gene transcription. RESULTS: As a first step to creating a comprehensive atlas of gene-expression patterns during Drosophila embryogenesis, we examined 2,179 genes by in situ hybridization to fixed Drosophila embryos. Of the genes assayed, 63.7% displayed dynamic expression patterns that were documented with 25,690 digital photomicrographs of individual embryos. The photomicrographs were annotated using controlled vocabularies for anatomical structures that are organized into a developmental hierarchy. We also generated a detailed time course of gene expression during embryogenesis using microarrays to provide an independent corroboration of the in situ hybridization results. All image, annotation and microarray data are stored in publicly available database. We found that the RNA transcripts of about 1% of genes show clear subcellular localization. Nearly all the annotated expression patterns are distinct. We present an approach for organizing the data by hierarchical clustering of annotation terms that allows us to group tissues that express similar sets of genes as well as genes displaying similar expression patterns. CONCLUSIONS: Analyzing gene-expression patterns by in situ hybridization to whole-mount embryos provides an extremely rich dataset that can be used to identify genes involved in developmental processes that have been missed by traditional genetic analysis. Systematic analysis of rigorously annotated patterns of gene expression will complement and extend the types of analyses carried out using expression microarrays.

    Global analysis of patterns of gene expression during Drosophila embryogenesis.

    • Tomancak P
    • Genome Biol.
    • 2007 16

    BACKGROUND: Cell and tissue specific gene expression is a defining feature of embryonic development in multi-cellular organisms. However, the range of gene expression patterns, the extent of the correlation of expression with function, and the classes of genes whose spatial expression are tightly regulated have been unclear due to the lack of an unbiased, genome-wide survey of gene expression patterns. RESULTS: We determined and documented embryonic expression patterns for 6,003 (44%) of the 13,659 protein-coding genes identified in the Drosophila melanogaster genome with over 70,000 images and controlled vocabulary annotations. Individual expression patterns are extraordinarily diverse, but by supplementing qualitative in situ hybridization data with quantitative microarray time-course data using a hybrid clustering strategy, we identify groups of genes with similar expression. Of 4,496 genes with detectable expression in the embryo, 2,549 (57%) fall into 10 clusters representing broad expression patterns. The remaining 1,947 (43%) genes fall into 29 clusters representing restricted expression, 20% patterned as early as blastoderm, with the majority restricted to differentiated cell types, such as epithelia, nervous system, or muscle. We investigate the relationship between expression clusters and known molecular and cellular-physiological functions. CONCLUSION: Nearly 60% of the genes with detectable expression exhibit broad patterns reflecting quantitative rather than qualitative differences between tissues. The other 40% show tissue-restricted expression; the expression patterns of over 1,500 of these genes are documented here for the first time. Within each of these categories, we identified clusters of genes associated with particular cellular and developmental functions.