Collaborative Resources for
Learning Developmental Biology
Collaborative Resources for Learning Developmental Biology
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Drosophila Tracheal Development
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MBL Embryology
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Additional Author(s): Juliette Petersen, Rachel K. Miller

Published on SDB CoRe: Oct 9 2012

Organisms: Model Organisms; Invertebrates
Tools & Techniques: Visualizing Genes/ Proteins; Microscopy
Morphogenesis: Cell Movements; Tubes and Branching
Ectoderm-derived: Respiratory System (Insects)
Organism: Drosophila
Stage of Development: Embryo

Object Description

Tracheal development during Drosophila melanogaster embryogenesis is visualized using a breathless-GFP transgene which is expressed in all tracheal cells.  This is a lateral view of the embryo with anterior to the right, ventral side up.  The fly tracheal system consists of interconnected tubes that transport oxygen and other gases throughout the body.  It arises from 10 groups of ectodermal precursor cells (placodes) on each side of the embryo that invaginate to form tracheal pits.  At the beginning of the movie, the embryo is at stage 11 and expression is seen in the tracheal pits.  As development proceeds, the various branches and tubes of the tracheal system are formed.  The movie spans about 8 hours of development and ends about three hours before the embryo hatches.


Ghabrial, A., Luschnig, S., Metzstein, M. and Krasnow, M.A. Branching morphogenesis of the Drosophila tracheal system. Annual Review of Cell & Developmental Biology, 2003, 19:623-647.

Breathless-GAL4, UAS-ActinGFP Drosophila line obtained from the Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center at Indiana University (Stock #8807).

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