Paternal products and by-products in Drosophila development

S. Pitnick, T. L. Karr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Tails of fertilizing spermatozoa persist throughout embryogenesis in Drosophila species and can be observed within the midguts of larvae after hatching. Throughout development, sperm proteins slowly diffuse or are stripped from the giant sperm tail residing within the embryo's anterior end. The shape and position of the sperm within the embryo are regulated such that, during organ formation, the unused portion of the sperm is enveloped by the developing midgut. This persistent, paternally derived structure is composed of the sperm's mitochondrial derivatives and appears to be defaecated by the larva soon after hatching. These complex sperm-egg interactions may represent mechanisms to avoid intragenomic conflict by ensuring strictly maternal inheritance of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-826
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1398
StatePublished - May 7 1998


  • Development
  • Drosophila
  • Fertilization
  • Intragenomic conflict
  • Sperm
  • mtDNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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