Worm Breeder's Gazette 1(2): 12
These abstracts should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.
We have studied maternal effects in 23 zyg ts mutants to estimate the times of expression of genes whose products are required in embryogenesis. We have used the following three tests, called arbitrarily A, B, and C. A test: Heterozygous (m/+) L4's are shifted to 25 C and allowed to self-fertilize. If 100% of their eggs yield larvae (25% of which express the mutant phenotype as adults), then the mutant is scored as maternal (M). If 25% of the F1 eggs fail to hatch, then the mutant is scored as non-maternal (N). An M result indicates that expression of the + allele in the parent allows m/m zygotes to hatch and grow to adulthood. A result of N indicates the opposite: that the + allele must be expressed in the zygote for hatching to occur. Out of 23 zyg mutants tested, 3 were scored N and 20 were scored M in the A test. Therefore, for most of the genes defined by these mutants, expression in the parent is sufficient for zygote survival, even if the gene is not expressed in the zygote. B test: Homozygous (m/m) hermaphrodites reared at 25 C are mated with N2 (+/+) males. If eggs fail to hatch at 25 C, but mated hermaphrodites shifted to 16 C produce cross progeny to give proof of mating, then the mutant is scored M. If cross progeny appear in the 25 C mating, then the mutant is scored N. An M result indicates that expression of the + allele in the zygote is not sufficient to allow m/+ progeny of an m/m hermaphrodite to survive. Conversely an N result indicates either that zygotic expression of the + allele is sufficient for survival, or that a sperm function or factor needed for early embryogenesis can be supplied paternally (see C test below). Out of the 23 zyg mutants tested, 11 were scored M and 12 were scored N. The combined results of A and B tests and their simplest interpretation are as follows. Ten mutants are M,M; the genes defined by these mutants must be expressed in the hermaphrodite parent for the zygote to survive. Ten mutants are M,N; these genes can be expressed either in the parent or in the zygote. Two mutants are N,N; these genes must be expressed in the zygote. One mutant is N,M; this gene must be expressed both in the maternal parent and in the zygote. C test: Homozygous (m/m) hermaphrodites reared at 25 C are mated with heterozygous (m/+) males. If rescue by a +/+ male in the B test depends on the + allele, then only half the cross progeny zygotes of a C test mating (m/+ male x m/m hermaphrodite) should survive. However, if rescue depends on a function or cytoplasmic component from the male sperm, then all the cross progeny zygotes in a C test should survive. Of the 10 M,N mutants, 6 have been C tested; one exhibited paternal rescue independent of the + allele. The A and B tests also were carried out on 16 mutants that arrest before the L3 molt (acc mutants). In the A test on 2 of these mutants, all m/m progeny of m/+ parents grew to adulthood at 25 C. Therefore, parental contributions are sufficient to overcome a progeny mutational block as late as the L2 stage. All 16 acc mutants scored N in the B test.