The gene csd is the primary signal for sexual development in the honeybee and encodes an SR-type protein

Cell. 2003 Aug 22;114(4):419-29. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(03)00606-8.


Haplodiploid organisms comprise about 20% of animals. Males develop from unfertilized eggs while females are derived from fertilized eggs. The underlying mechanisms of sex determination, however, appear to be diverse and are poorly understood. We have dissected the complementary sex determiner (csd) locus in the honeybee to understand its molecular basis. In this species, csd acts as the primary sex-determining signal with several alleles segregating in populations. Males are hemizygous and females are heterozygous at this locus; nonreproducing diploid males occur when the locus is homozygous. We have characterized csd by positional cloning and repression analysis. csd alleles are highly variable and no transcription differences were found between sexes. These results establish csd as a primary signal that governs sexual development by its allelic composition. Structural similarity of csd with tra genes of Dipteran insects suggests some functional relation of what would otherwise appear to be unrelated sex-determination mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Arginine / metabolism
  • Bees / embryology
  • Bees / physiology*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Female
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Genotype
  • Gonads / growth & development
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phenotype
  • RNA Interference
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Serine / metabolism
  • Sex Determination Processes*


  • Insect Proteins
  • Serine
  • Arginine

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY350615
  • GENBANK/AY350616
  • GENBANK/AY350617
  • GENBANK/AY350618
  • GENBANK/AY352276
  • GENBANK/AY352277