We describe a genetic mosaic analysis procedure in which Caenorhabditis elegans mosaics are generated by spontaneous loss of an extrachromosomal array. This technique allows almost any C. elegans gene that can be used in germline transformation experiments to be used in mosaic analysis experiments. We identified a cosmid clone that rescues the mutant phenotype of ncl-1, so that this cell-autonomous marker could be used to analyze mosaic animals. To determine the sites of action for unc-29 and lin-31, an extrachromosomal array was constructed containing the ncl-1(+) cosmid linked to lin-31(+) and unc-29(+) cosmids. This array is mitotically unstable and can be lost to produce a clone of mutant cells. The specific cell division at which the extrachromosomal array had been lost was deduced by scoring the Ncl phenotypes of individual cells in genetic mosaics. The Unc-29 and Lin-31 phenotypes were then scored in these animals to determine in which cells these genes are required. This analysis showed that unc-29, which encodes a subunit of the acetylcholine receptor, acts in the body muscle cells. Furthermore, lin-31, which specifies cell fates during vulval induction and encodes a putative transcription factor similar to HNF-3/fork head, acts in the Pn.p cells
- Received March 1, 1996.
- Accepted March 30, 1996.
- Copyright © 1996 by the Genetics Society of America