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J Mol Evol. 1995 Oct;41(4):467-77.

The Sex-lethal gene homologue in Chrysomya rufifacies is highly conserved in sequence and exon-intron organization.

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Zoologisches Institut, Universität Kiel, Germany.


A great variety of sex determination mechanisms exists in insect species. In Drosophila melanogaster sex is determined by the ratio between X chromosomes and autosomes, while in the blowfly Chrysomya rufifacies it is maternally determined. A cascade of genes which are involved in sex determination has been identified in D. melanogaster with the Sex-lethal gene (Sxl) as the key gene. We screened genomic libraries of C. rufifacies with a probe of the Sxl gene from D. melanogaster and isolated a genomic region that included most of the homologous gene. DNA- and protein-sequence comparison showed a high percent identity between the Chrysomya and the Drosophila gene. Up to 90% identity of the amino acid sequences was found in the region that contained the RNA-binding domains. The degree of identity is much lower outside of this functionally important region (18% identity). cDNA analysis showed a highly conserved exon-intron structure between the two species, although sex-specific splicing as used in D. melanogaster for the regulation of Sxl activity, could not be detected in C. rufifacies.

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