Introns excised from the primary transcript of Delta (Dl), a Drosophila neurogenic gene, accumulate to unusually high levels in embryos. High resolution in situ hybridization reveals a striking localization of the excised introns to two foci per embryonic nucleus. The number of foci can be altered by varying the number of Dl genes present in the embryonic nucleus, suggesting that the excised introns are localized near sites of Dl transcription. This conclusion is supported by the observation that larval and imaginal disc nuclei containing two copies of Dl exhibit only one focus of intron accumulation, as expected for nuclei in which homologous chromosomes are paired. Interestingly, the excised introns do not appear to diffuse away from the foci until late prophase, at which time the foci disperse into numerous small dots of hybridization. These results suggest that the excised Dl introns may be associated with a structural element within the nucleus that is dissociated during cell division.

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