Control of female reproduction in Drosophila: genetic dissection using gynandromorphs.

J. Szabad, C. Fajszi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)


The sexual behavior of Drosophila melanogaster gynandromorphs was studied to analyze the relationship between different steps in the female reproductive pathway. It was assumed that, in some gynandromorphs, certain female functions are missing because the corresponding control sites (foci) are either composed of male tissue or did not develop. A given gynandromorph can show elements of both male and female reproductive pathways. None of the steps of the female reproductive pathway appeared to be dependent on any other, in contrast to male behavior where, for example, following of females is a prerequisite for attempted copulation. By correlating each of the behaviors with the genotype of the cuticle, we confirmed previous findings that the focus for the female sex appeal is located in the abdomen, but receptivity to copulation is controlled by a site in the head. Many of the gynandromorphs did not lay eggs, presumably because either the focus controlling egg transfer from the ovaries to the uterus or the one controlling egg deposition was composed of male tissue. Many of the nonovipositing gynandromorphs laid eggs while dying or could be induced to deposit eggs after implantation of hormone-producing glands or topical application of a juvenile hormone analog. Some of the noninseminated gynandromorphs laid eggs at the rate characteristic for inseminated females, suggesting that an oviposition focus (mapping in the head region) suppresses oviposition in virgin females, but not in gynandromorphs whose focus is composed of male tissue. Some of the inseminated gynandromorphs oviposited eggs at a low rate, possibly because the focus responsible for detection of insemination could not function properly. Some of the inseminated gynandromorphs laid unfertilized eggs, revealing the importance of the focus controlling sperm release from the seminal receptacle. Foci controlling egg transfer, egg deposition and sperm release are located in the thorax, according to mosaic fate mapping results and studies on the reproductive behavior of decapitated females. The location of egg deposition in the culture vial seems to be controlled by a brain site. Sexual behavior in Drosophila does not depend on the presence (or absence) of the ovary or germ line.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-78
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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