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Dev Biol. 1983 Dec;100(2):294-307.

Sex-specific control of growth and differentiation in the Drosophila genital disc, studied using a temperature-sensitive transformer-2 mutation.


Mutations of the transformer-2 (tra-2) locus of Drosophila melanogaster cause chromosomally female (XX) animals to develop as males, but have no effect on the development of chromosomally male (XY) animals. In the female genital disc, such mutations cause repression of growth and inhibition of differentiation in the female genital primordium, while allowing growth and differentiation of the otherwise repressed male genital primordium. We used a temperature-sensitive mutation of this locus (tra-2ts1) to switch development from one sexual pathway to the other. Following development at the male-determining temperature (29 degrees C), subsequent culture of the XX;tra-2ts1 genital disc in vivo at the female-determining temperature (16 degrees C) allowed the previously repressed female genital primordium to develop and form female genital structures, whereas the formation of male genital elements was grossly disturbed. Conversely, following development at the female-determining temperature, subsequent culture in vivo at the male-determining temperature allowed the formerly repressed male genital primordium to grow and produce male genital structures, and repressed the formation of female elements from the already fully developed female genital primordium. The experiments indicate that the tra-2 product has to operate during the culture period in order to maintain the female state of sex determination, i.e., to promote the development of female structures, as well as to repress that of male structures. The experimental treatments, as well as the results of temperature shifts on developing larvae, resulted in sexual transformation of the anal plates, and clarified the sexual homologies of these structures. In both genitalia and analia, a switch from the female to the male developmental pathway was accomplished more rapidly and effectively than the reverse change.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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