Weakener of white (Wow), a gene that modifies the expression of the white eye color locus and that suppresses position effect variegation in Drosophila melanogaster

J. A. Birchler, U. Bhadra, L. Rabinow, R. Linsk, A. T. Nguyen-Huynh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


A locus is described in Drosophila melanogaster that modifies the expression of the white eye color gene. This trans-acting modifier reduces the expression of the white gene in the eye, but elevates the expression in other adult tissues. Because of the eye phenotype in which the expression of white is lessened but not eliminated, the newly described locus is called the Weakener of white (Wow). Northern analysis reveals that Wow can exert an inverse or direct modifying effect depending upon the developmental stage. Two related genes, brown and scarlet, that are coordinately expressed with white, are also affected by Wow. In addition, Wow modulates the steady state RNA level of the retrotransposon, copia. When tested with a white promoter- Alcohol dehydrogenase reporter, Wow confers the modifying effect to the reporter, suggesting a requirement of the white regulatory sequences for mediating the response. In addition to being a dosage sensitive regulator of white, brown, scarlet and copia, Wow acts as a suppressor of position effect variegation. There are many dosage sensitive suppressors of position effect variegation and many dosage-sensitive modifiers of gene expression. The Wow mutations provide evidence for an overlap between the two types of modifiers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1057-1070
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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