The Sex-lethal gene of Drosophila: DNA alterations associated with sex-specific lethal mutations

Cell. 1985 Dec;43(2 Pt 1):521-9. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(85)90181-3.


Genomic DNA encoding Sex-lethal, a developmental switch gene in Drosophila melanogaster that regulates sex determination and dosage compensation has been isolated. Wild-type DNA sequence organization of the gene has been compared at the restriction level with those of 17 female-specific, loss-of-function and five male-specific, gain-of-function mutant alleles. DNA lesions associated with 12 of these mutations delimit an 11 kb DNA region that is necessary for proper Sex-lethal function in females. Males who are deleted for this region are both viable and fertile. Loss-of-function alleles are associated with gross DNA alterations as well as true point mutations; the former are located throughout the region. In contrast, all five gain-of-function alleles are associated with DNA insertions that are clustered within a 1 kb portion of the Sxl gene region.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Chromosome Inversion
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genes, Dominant
  • Genes, Lethal*
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Male
  • Morphogenesis
  • Sex Characteristics


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA