The Drosophila sex determination signal: how do flies count to two?

Trends Genet. 1993 Nov;9(11):385-90. doi: 10.1016/0168-9525(93)90138-8.


Seventy years after the discovery that sex in Drosophila melanogaster is determined by the balance between X chromosomes and autosomes, we can finally identify some of the specific genes whose relative dosage is responsible for the male/female decision in somatic cells and study how they act at the molecular level. Discovery of these sex determination genes was delayed because their mutant phenotypes were unanticipated. It now seems appropriate to consider how the concept of the X/A balance may have limited thinking about the fruit fly sex determination signal.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Female
  • Insect Hormones / genetics
  • Insect Hormones / physiology
  • Male
  • RNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Sex Differentiation / genetics*
  • X Chromosome / physiology


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Hormones
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Sxl protein, Drosophila