Setting the stage for development: the maternal-to-zygotic transition in Drosophila

Melissa M. Harrison, Audrey J. Marsh, Christine A. Rushlow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The zygote has a daunting task ahead of itself; it must develop from a single cell (fertilized egg) into a fully functioning adult with a multitude of different cell types. In the beginning, the zygote has help from its mother, in the form of gene products deposited into the egg, but eventually, it must rely on its own resources to proceed through development. The transfer of developmental control from the mother to the embryo is called the maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT). All animals undergo this transition, which is defined by two main processes-the degradation of maternal RNAs and the synthesis of new RNAs from the zygote's own genome. Here, we review the regulation of the MZT in Drosophila, but given the broad conservation of this essential process, much of the regulation is shared among metazoans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberiyad142
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • Drosophila
  • FlyBook
  • FlyBookg
  • MZT
  • ZGA
  • embryo
  • gene expression
  • zygotic genome activation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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