The sex-determining gene tra of Drosophila: molecular cloning and transformation studies.

B. Butler, V. Pirrotta, I. Irminger-Finger, R. Nöthiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


In Drosophila, the primary signal for sex determination is given by the ratio of X chromosomes to sets of autosomes (X:A). The primary signal is read by a key gene (Sxl) and transmitted down to the differentiation genes by the subordinate control genes tra, tra-2, ix and dsx. Mutations in tra transform chromosomal females (X/X; tra/tra) into sterile males (pseudomales). We have cloned the tra region by microdissection and chromosomal walking. We identified the gene using deficiency breakpoints, DNA aberrations in three different alleles of tra and by P-mediated transformation. A 3.8-kb fragment perfectly rescued the mutant phenotype of X/X; tra/tra flies, showing that it contained all the necessary information to restore female-specific functions in the mutant flies. We present evidence that most of the function of tra can be provided by a subsegment of 2 kb that is differentially transcribed or processed in males and females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3607-3613
Number of pages7
JournalThe EMBO journal
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 20 1986
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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