Programmed cell death (PCD) is a conserved feature of developing nervous systems across phyla. During development neural stem cells divide to make committed cell types that will form functional circuits. PCD removes excess neurons, but excess uncommitted precursors must also be removed at the end of development. Although neurons can be cleared by either mechanism, less is known about how neural stem cells are cleared. This project will examine how extrinsic positional cues dictate PCD of uncommitted precursors in the Drosophila visual system. This project will shed new light on how PCD regulates neuronal numbers and stoichiometry in the brain.
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