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Genetics. 1990 May;125(1):29-39.

fog-1, a regulatory gene required for specification of spermatogenesis in the germ line of Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


In wild-type Caenorhabditis elegans, the XO male germ line makes only sperm and the XX hermaphrodite germ line makes sperm and then oocytes. In contrast, the germ line of either a male or a hermaphrodite carrying a mutation of the fog-1 (feminization of the germ line) locus is sexually transformed: cells that would normally make sperm differentiate as oocytes. However, the somatic tissues of fog-1 mutants remain unaffected. All fog-1 alleles identified confer the same phenotype. The fog-1 mutations appear to reduce fog-1 function, indicating that the wild-type fog-1 product is required for specification of a germ cell as a spermatocyte. Two lines of evidence indicate that a germ cell is determined for sex at about the same time that it enters meiosis. These include the fog-1 temperature sensitive period, which coincides in each sex with first entry into meiosis, and the phenotype of a fog-1; glp-1 double mutant. Experiments with double mutants show that fog-1 is epistatic to mutations in all other sex-determining genes tested. These results lead to the conclusion that fog-1 acts at the same level as the fem genes at the end of the sex determination pathway to specify germ cells as sperm.

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