• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of geneticsGeneticsCurrent IssueInformation for AuthorsEditorial BoardSubscribeSubmit a Manuscript
Genetics. Sep 1998; 150(1): 221–226.
PMCID: PMC1460308

The female-determining gene F of the housefly, Musca domestica, acts maternally to regulate its own zygotic activity.


In Musca domestica, the common housefly, female development requires the continuous activity of the sex-determining gene F from early embryogenesis until metamorphosis. To activate F in embryogenesis, two conditions must be met: There must be no male-determining M factor in the zygotic genome, and the egg must be preconditioned by F activity in the maternal germ line. This maternal activity can be suppressed by introducing an M factor into the maternal germ line, which causes all offspring, including those that do not carry M, to develop as males. By transplantation of pole cells (germline progenitor cells) we have constructed such females with a genetically male germ line and, simultaneously, males with a genetically female germ line carrying a constitutive allele of F [F(Dominant) (F(D))]. Crosses between these animals yielded offspring that, despite the presence of M in the maternal germ line, were of female sex, solely due to zygotic F(D) brought in via the sperm. This shows that zygotic F function alone is sufficient to promote female development and that in the wild-type situation, maternal F product serves no other function but to activate the zygotic F gene.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (108K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Meise M, Hilfiker-Kleiner D, Dübendorfer A, Brunner C, Nöthiger R, Bopp D. Sex-lethal, the master sex-determining gene in Drosophila, is not sex-specifically regulated in Musca domestica. Development. 1998 Apr;125(8):1487–1494. [PubMed]
  • Nöthiger R, Steinmann-Zwicky M. A single principle for sex determination in insects. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 1985;50:615–621. [PubMed]
  • Bell LR, Horabin JI, Schedl P, Cline TW. Positive autoregulation of sex-lethal by alternative splicing maintains the female determined state in Drosophila. Cell. 1991 Apr 19;65(2):229–239. [PubMed]
  • Cronmiller C, Cline TW. The relationship of relative gene dose to the complex phenotype of the daughterless locus in Drosophila. Dev Genet. 1986;7(4):205–221. [PubMed]
  • Schmidt R, Hediger M, Roth S, Nöthiger R, Dübendorfer A. The Y-chromosomal and autosomal male-determining M factors of Musca domestica are equivalent. Genetics. 1997 Sep;147(1):271–280. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hilfiker-Kleiner D, Dübendorfer A, Hilfiker A, Nöthiger R. Developmental analysis of two sex-determining genes, M and F, in the housefly, Musca domestica. Genetics. 1993 Aug;134(4):1187–1194. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Schmidt R, Hediger M, Nöthiger R, Dübendorfer A. The mutation masculinizer (man) defines a sex-determining gene with maternal and zygotic functions in Musca domestica L. Genetics. 1997 Jan;145(1):173–183. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hilfiker-Kleiner D, Dübendorfer A, Hilfiker A, Nöthiger R. Genetic control of sex determination in the germ line and soma of the housefly, Musca domestica. Development. 1994 Sep;120(9):2531–2538. [PubMed]
  • Van Deusen EB. Sex determination in germ line chimeras of Drosophila melanogaster. J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1977 Feb;37(1):173–185. [PubMed]
  • Inoue H, Hiroyoshi T. A Maternal-Effect Sex-Transformation Mutant of the Housefly, MUSCA DOMESTICA L. Genetics. 1986 Mar;112(3):469–482. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Genetics are provided here courtesy of Genetics Society of America


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...