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We describe a recessive, maternal-effect lethal mutation of Drosophila, gnu. gnu uncouples nuclear division from many cytoplasmic events of mitosis in the Drosophila embryo. Embryos from homozygous females are defective in nuclear division, but not in DNA replication, and therefore develop a small number of giant nuclei. Centrosomes divide independently of nuclear division and migrate to the surface of the syncytial blastoderm. There they nucleate microtubules into asters, which appear normal at first but become very large. Only later, when the giant nuclei begin to break down, are spindles sometimes formed. The cortical actin of these embryos develops into a characteristic network.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





457 - 468


Actins, Animals, Cell Division, Cell Nucleus, Centrioles, DNA, Drosophila melanogaster, Female, Genes, Lethal, Microtubules, Spindle Apparatus