Gene of the Month - Deadpan
And finally it's time for our Gene of the Month, and this time it's Deadpan. Another of those fruit fly genes, Deadpan was first discovered in 1992 for playing a key role in determining whether a fly will be male or female. The gene encodes a type of molecule known as a transcription factor, which switches genes on, and it's involved in many other roles in the development of an embryonic fly, as well as just its sex. For example, along with other genes called Tramtrack, Phyllopod and Sevenless, Deadpan is involved in building the clusters of light-sensitive cells known as photoreceptors, which make up the repeating units of a fly's compound eye. Although our eyes look very different from a fruit fly's, similar genes are involved in setting up repeating patterns in a human baby's body as it develops in the womb.