Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New thinking on regulation of sex chromosomes in fruit flies

Date:
September 19, 2011
Source:
University of Rochester
Summary:
Biologists have discovered that dosage compensation does not occur in the reproductive cells of male fruit flies.

Fruit flies have been indispensible to our understanding of genetics and biological processes in all animals, including humans. Yet, despite being one of the most studied of animals, scientists are still finding the fruit fly to be capable of surprises, as evidenced by new research at the University of Rochester.

Related Articles


The latest revelation has to do with the activity of the X chromosome in male fruit flies. It was widely accepted that all X chromosomes in male fruit flies showed an increased level of activity. It was also believed that, in the absence of increased activity, the cell would die. But biologists at the University got some unexpected results when they studied chromosomal behavior in fruit flies.

The findings, by the lab of Associate Professor Daven Presgraves, have been published in the journal PLoS Biology.

While chromosomes in most animals come in pairs, that is not the case with all sex chromosomes. Males, typically being the ones to determine the gender of offspring, carry both the X and Y chromosomes, compared to the female, which carries two X chromosomes. Since the sex chromosomes carry genetic instructions for traits that go beyond gender determination, a process -- called dosage compensation -- evolved to ensure that the X chromosomes in males and females are expressed at the same level.

Dosage compensation occurs differently from one species to the next. In male fruit flies (Drosophila), the expression -- or activity -- of genes on most of the single X chromosomes is doubled to match the expression of the two X chromosomes in female cells. Scientists have believed that the process of dosage compensation occurs in all cells of the male fruit fly. But University biologists have discovered that is not the case with the germ (reproductive) cells in the testes.

A complex of proteins called the dosage compensation complex is responsible for upregulating gene expression in somatic (non-reproductive) cells. "That complex doesn't exist in germ cells, so it was assumed that dosage compensation occurred in those cells by some other mechanism," said lead author Colin Meiklejohn, "We showed there is no upregulation of X chromosomes in the testes of flies."

Scientists have assumed that dosage compensation is needed for any male cell to survive, said Meiklejohn. It's not clear why there are no negative effects in the male sex cells, but Meiklejohn said that's a question University researchers will look at next.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Rochester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Colin D. Meiklejohn, Emily L. Landeen, Jodi M. Cook, Sarah B. Kingan, Daven C. Presgraves. Sex Chromosome-Specific Regulation in the Drosophila Male Germline But Little Evidence for Chromosomal Dosage Compensation or Meiotic Inactivation. PLoS Biology, 2011; 9 (8): e1001126 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001126

Cite This Page:

University of Rochester. "New thinking on regulation of sex chromosomes in fruit flies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110919124811.htm>.
University of Rochester. (2011, September 19). New thinking on regulation of sex chromosomes in fruit flies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110919124811.htm
University of Rochester. "New thinking on regulation of sex chromosomes in fruit flies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110919124811.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Buzz60 (Oct. 31, 2014) For its nature series Life Story, the BBC profiled the barnacle goose, whose chicks must make a daredevil 400-foot cliff dive from their nests to find food. Jen Markham has the astonishing video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) The import of salamanders around the globe is thought to be contributing to the spread of a deadly fungus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) A health group in the United Kingdom has called for mandatory calorie labels on alcoholic beverages in the European Union. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Focus on treating the Ebola epidemic in Liberia means that treatment for malaria, itself a killer, is hard to come by. MSF are now undertaking the mass distribution of antimalarials in Monrovia. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins