New Y chromosomes and early stages of sex chromosome differentiation: sex determination in Megaselia

J Genet. 2010 Sep;89(3):307-13. doi: 10.1007/s12041-010-0042-x.


The phorid fly Megaselia scalaris is a laboratory model for the turnover and early differentiation of sex chromosomes. Isolates from the field have an XY sex-determining mechanism with chromosome pair 2 acting as X and Y chromosomes. The sex chromosomes are homomorphic but display early signs of sex chromosome differentiation: a low level of molecular differences between X and Y. The male-determining function (M), maps to the distal part of the Y chromosome's short arm. In laboratory cultures, new Y chromosomes with no signs of a molecular differentiation arise at a low rate, probably by transposition of M to these chromosomes. Downstream of the primary signal, the homologue of the Drosophila doublesex (dsx) is part of the sex-determining pathway while Sex-lethal (Sxl), though structurally conserved, is not.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diptera / genetics*
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic
  • Sex Determination Processes / genetics*
  • Sex Differentiation / genetics*
  • Y Chromosome / genetics*