Male-specific lethal mutations of Drosophila melanogaster. II. Parameters of gene action during male development

J. M. Belote

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31 Scopus citations


The male-specific lethal mutations (msl's) identify loci whose wild-type gene products are essential for male, but not female, viability. Earlier studies in which X-linked gene activities were monitored in msl/msl male larvae demonstrated that genes are responsible for setting and/or maintaining the level of X chromosome transcription in males (i.e., they are necessary for proper dosage compensation). The present study examines several important questions concerning their mode of action during development - the results of an examination of the effects of an msl-1 deficiency on male-lethal phase and female viability suggest that this mutation is an amorph, or a severe hypomorph. The effects of rendering a fly mutant for more than one male-lethal mutation were also examined. Multiply mutant flies were no more severely affected than singly mutant ones. A gynandromorph analysis revealed that the male-limited lethality associated with msl-2 has no single lethal focus. Somatic clones of homozygous msl-2 cells were initiated at various times during development by X-ray-induced mitotic recombination. An examination of the viability, growth patterns and morphology of marked clones demonstrated that: msl-2+ acts in a cell autonomous manner, msl-2+ function is required not only in larval (polytene) cells as was shown in previous work but is also needed in the diploid cells that give rise to adult structures, the msl-2+ gene is needed fairly late in development and perhaps continuously, the msl-2 mutation does not affect sexual differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-896
Number of pages16
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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