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Daniel Bopp
Institute of Molecular Life Sciences
University of Zurich
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Evolution of sex determination pathways

We are studying the evolution of sex determining pathways by comparing the pathway in Drosophila melanogaster to those of the housefly Musca domestica and the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum. We find that the genes at the end of the Drosophila pathway, doublesex and its direct regulators, transformer and transformer2 are highly conserved and probably part of an ancient module that controls sexual differentiation in holometabolous insects . In contrast, genes upstream at the signaling end of the cascade have largely diverged between the different insect species. We are presently analysing the structure and function of such regulatory genes in the housefly and the red flour beetle with the aim to understand how adaptive changes shaped the pathway in the course of insect evolution.