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Published on Jun 25, 2012
Levine discusses the important role of precisely regulating gene expression during animal development. The Drosophila embryo provides a model system because during early embryogenesis a syncytium with about 6000 synchronously dividing nuclei is formed before membranes are laid down to separate the nuclei and areas of regulated gene expression are created. These regions of specific gene expression ultimately determine the body plan of the organism. In Part 1 of his lecture, Levine emphasizes the importance of enhancers in regulating localized gene expression. Enhancers are elements located up or downstream from the transcription start site of a gene and they bind activators and repressors of gene expression. By integrating the effect of activators and repressors, enhancers produce sharp on/off boundaries of gene expression.