Chemical-free pest control tools on the way thanks to novel gene silencing strategy

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A female Mediterranean fruit-fly (Ceratitis capitata). Image: Alvesgaspar via Wikipedia

In insects, rapidly evolving primary sex-determining signals are transduced by a conserved regulatory module controlling sexual differentiation. In the agricultural pest Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean fruit fly, Medfly) we identified a Y-linked gene, Maleness-on the-Y (MoY), encoding a small protein that is necessary and sufficient for male development. Silencing or disruption of MoY in XY embryos causes feminization whereas overexpression of MoY in XX embryos induces masculinization.

Crosses between transformed XY females and XX males give rise to males and females, indicating that a Y chromosome can be transmitted by XY females. MoY is Y-linked and functionally conserved in other species of the Tephritidae family, highlighting its potential to serve as a tool for developing more effective control strategies against these major agricultural insect pests.

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Read full, original article: Maleness-on-the-Y (MoY) orchestrates male sex determination in major agricultural fruit fly pests (Behind Paywall)

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