Turning clustering loops: sex determination in Caenorhabditis elegans

Curr Biol. 2002 Feb 5;12(3):R111-20. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(02)00675-9.


The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has two sexes: males and hermaphrodites. Hermaphrodites are essentially female animals that produce sperm and oocytes. In the past few years tremendous progress has been made towards understanding how sexual identity is controlled in the worm. These analyses have revealed that the regulatory pathway controlling sexual development is far from linear and that it contains a number of loops and branches that play crucial roles in regulating sexual development. This review summarizes our current understanding of the mechanisms that regulate sexual cell fate in C. elegans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Disorders of Sex Development / genetics*
  • Disorders of Sex Development / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Dosage
  • Germ Cells / cytology
  • Germ Cells / metabolism
  • Helminth Proteins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Sex Determination Processes*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • X Chromosome / genetics


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Helminth Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • tra-1 protein, C elegans
  • XOL-1 protein, C elegans