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Genic Balance Theory of Sex Determination in Drosophila melanogaster

Sex determination mechanism


What is sex determination?

Living organisms, with a very few exceptions, are differentiated into male and female individuals based on their morphological, physiological and behavioral characteristics. Even though the mechanism greatly varies, the sexes of the individuals are genetically determined. The biological system that determines the development of sexual characteristics in an organism is called sex-determination. There are two different types of sex determination systems, they are:

(1). Chromosomal sex determination

(2). Non–genetic sex determination

In chromosomal sex determination, the individuals will process specialized chromosomes called sex chromosomes. In this case, the presence or absence of a particular sex chromosome or the relative ratio of these sex chromosomes determines the sex of the individuals.

Similar to human beings, Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) shows XX female and XY male sex chromosomal constitution. However, the mechanism of sex determination is quite different in Drosophila from human. In humans, the Y chromosome is the actual sex determining chromosome. Invariable to the number of X chromosomes, the presence of a single Y chromosome initiates the development of male sex in human embryos. Thus, in human XX and XY individuals will be always female and male respectively. In human XXY and XXXY individuals are also males because of the presence of Y chromosome.

What is Genic Balance System of Sex Determination?

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