Note to users. If you're seeing this message, it means that your browser cannot find this page's style/presentation instructions -- or possibly that you are using a browser that does not support current Web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing, and what you can do to make your experience of our site the best it can be.

Subscribe

Logo for

Science 302 (5647): 1046-1049

Copyright © 2003 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Roles for Mating and Environment in C. elegans Sex Determination

Veena Prahlad,1 Dave Pilgrim,2 Elizabeth B. Goodwin1*

Abstract: In Caenorhabditis elegans the two sexes, hermaphrodites and males, are thought to be irreversibly determined at fertilization by the ratio of X chromosomes to sets of autosomes: XX embryos develop as hermaphrodites and XO embryos as males. We show instead that both sex and genotype of C. elegans can be altered postembryonically and that this flexibility requires sexual reproduction. When grown in specific bacterial metabolites, some XX larvae generated by mating males and hermaphrodites develop as males and lose one X chromosome. However, XX larvae produced by hermaphrodite self-fertilization show no such changes. We propose that sexual reproduction increases developmental flexibility of progeny, allowing for better adaptation to changing environments.

1 Genetics Department, University of Wisconsin, 445 Henry Mall, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
2 Department of Biological Sciences, CW 405, Biological Sciences Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2E9, Canada.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: goodwin{at}wisc.edu


THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN CITED BY OTHER ARTICLES:
A native chromatin purification system for epigenomic profiling in Caenorhabditis elegans.
S. L. Ooi, J. G. Henikoff, and S. Henikoff (2010)
Nucleic Acids Res. 38, e26
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Theory for why dioecious plants have equal length sex chromosomes.
R. Gorelick (2005)
Am. J. Botany 92, 979-984
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

To Advertise     Find Products


Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882