Maleness-on-the-Y (MoY) orchestrates male sex determination in major agricultural fruit fly pests

Angela Meccariello, Marco Salvemini, Pasquale Primo, Brantley Hall, Panagiota Koskinioti, Martina Dalíková, Andrea Gravina, Michela Anna Gucciardino, Federica Forlenza, Maria Eleni Gregoriou, Domenica Ippolito, Simona Maria Monti, Valeria Petrella, Maryanna Martina Perrotta, Stephan Schmeing, Alessia Ruggiero, Francesca Scolari, Ennio Giordano, Konstantina T. Tsoumani, František MarecNikolai Windbichler, Kallare P. Arunkumar, Kostas Bourtzis, Kostas D. Mathiopoulos, Jiannis Ragoussis, Luigi Vitagliano, Zhijian Tu, Philippos Aris Papathanos*, Mark D. Robinson, Giuseppe Saccone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


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, or 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 Ychromosome 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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1457-1460
Number of pages4
Issue number6460
StatePublished - 27 Sep 2019

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