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Genetics. 1996 May;143(1):331-44.

Courtship anomalies caused by doublesex mutations in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Biology, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02254, USA.


The role played by the sex-determining gene doublesex (dsx) and its influence on Drosophila courtship were examined. Against a background of subnormal male-like behavior that is reported to be an attribute of haplo-X flies homozygous for the original dsx mutation, and given that a sex-specific muscle is unaffected by genetic variation at this locus, analyses of several reproductive behaviors and control for genetic background effects indicated that XY dsx mutants are impaired in their willingness to court females. When they did court, certain behavioral actions were normal, including components of courtship song. However, these mutants never produced courtship humming sounds. Mature XY dsx flies elicited anomalously high levels of courtship; that this occurs merely because of a delay in imaginal development was experimentally discounted. The current analysis reconciled two ostensibly conflicting reports involving the courtship-stimulating qualities of this mutant type. Such experiments also uncovered a new behavioral anomaly: dsx mutations caused chromosomal males to court other males at abnormally high levels. These results are discussed from the perspective of doublesex's influence on internal tissues of adult Drosophila involved in the triggering and neural control of male- and female-like elements of courtship, reproductive pheromone production, or a combination of such factors.

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