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Cell. 1989 Apr 7;57(1):157-66.

Cell-autonomous and inductive signals can determine the sex of the germ line of drosophila by regulating the gene Sxl.

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Zoological Institute, University of Zurich, Switzerland.


To investigate the mechanism of sex determination in the germ line, we analyzed the fate of XY germ cells in ovaries, and the fate of XX germ cells in testes. In ovaries, germ cells developed according to their X:A ratio, i.e., XX cells underwent oogenesis, XY cells formed spermatocytes. In testes, however, XY and XX germ cells entered the spermatogenic pathway. Thus, to determine their sex, the germ cells of Drosophila have cell-autonomous genetic information, and XX cells respond to inductive signals of the soma. Results obtained with amorphic and constitutive mutations of Sxl show that both the genetic and the somatic signals act through Sxl to achieve sex determination in germ cells.

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