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Dev Genet. 1994;15(3):275-96.

Behavioral and neurobiological implications of sex-determining factors in Drosophila.

Author information

1
Department of Zoology, Oregon State University, Corvallis.

Abstract

The function of the central nervous system as it controls sex-specific behaviors in Drosophila has been studied with renewed intensity, in the context of genetic factors that influence the development of sexually differentiated aspects of this insect. Three categories of genetic variations that cause anomalies in courtship and mating behaviors are discussed: (1) mutants isolated with regard to courtship defects, of which putatively courtship-specific variants such as the fruitless mutant are a subset; (2) general behavioral and neurological variants (including sensory and learning mutants), whose defects include subnormal reproductive performance; and (3) mutations of genes within the sex-determination regulatory hierarchy of Drosophila, the analysis of which has included studies of reproductive behavior. Recent studies of mutations in two of these categories have provided new insights into the control of neuronally based aspects of sex-specific behavior. The doublesex gene, the final factor acting in the sex-determination hierarchy, had been previously thought to regulate all aspects of sexual differentiation. Yet, it has been recently shown that doublesex does not control at least one neuronally-determined feature of sex-specific anatomy--a muscle in the male's abdomen, whose normal development is, however, dependent on the action of fruitless. These considerations prompted us to examine further (and in some cases re-examine) the influences exerted by sex-determination hierarchy genes on behavior. Our results--notably those obtained from assessments of doublesex mutations' effects on general reproductive actions and on a particular component of the courtship sequence (male "singing" behavior)--lead to the suggestion that there is a previously unrecognized branch within the sex-determination hierarchy, which controls the differentiation of the male- and female- specific phenotypes of Drosophila. This new branch separates from the doublesex-related one immediately before the action of that gene (just after transformer and transformer-2) and appears to control as least some aspects of neuronally determined sexual differentiation of males.

PMID:
8062459
DOI:
10.1002/dvg.1020150309
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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