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Genetics and biochemistry of "red cells" in Drosophila melanogaster


Grell, E. H. (1958) Genetics and biochemistry of "red cells" in Drosophila melanogaster. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology.


Studies were made of the "red cells" strain of Drosophila melanogaster. "Red cells" flies are characterized by the presence of reddish pigment in certain fat cells.

A genetic analysis revealed that the fat cells are pigmented only when flies are homozygous for two mutant genes. The two genes are 4.4 crossover units apart on the second chromosome. They were separated, maintained in separate stocks and recombined. When they were recombined the "red cells" phenotype was again produced as it is in the original stock. The two mutant genes have been named red cells (rc) and lysine (lys). With or without rc, the mutant gene, lys, causes flies which are homozygous for it to contain a greater quantity of the amino acid, lysine, than normal flies. In experiments with injection of radioactive lysine, over a period of eight hours normal flies converted thirteen times more lysine into carbon dioxide than did lys flies.

The hypothesis was offered that lys is a mutation of a gene which is important in the degradation of lysine. The mutation causes an impairment in the processes by which lysine is degraded, therefore lysine tends to accumulate in the flies if they ingest more lysine than is required in protein synthesis.

Attempts were made to localize the position of the step at which lys impairs the degradation of lysine.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Biology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Lewis, Edward B.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 January 1958
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-11012004-140047
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4351
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:01 Nov 2004
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 03:07

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PDF (Grell_eh_1958.pdf) - Final Version
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