A Molecular and Genetic Study of Germline Sex Determination in D. melanogaster

Project: National Science and Technology CouncilNational Science and Technology Council Academic Grants

Project Details


Sex determination is an important but poorly understood developmental process that germ cells must undergo. Establishment of the correct sexual identity not only ensures proper production of gametes, but also underlies many molecular and cellular properties of the germ cells. Our previous work identified an evolutionarily conserved histone reader PHD Finger Protein 7 (Phf7) as a critical regulator of male germline sex determination in Drosophila. There are multiple sex-specific phenotypes associated with Phf7, the most remarkable and defining one being the ability of Phf7 to induce germline sex reversal. This discovery has opened numerous new windows to investigate the network of genes responsible for establishing important development decisions in the germline. In this research proposal, we outline our plans to use molecular and genetic approaches to investigate how Phf7 acts and is regulated at the molecular level, as well as to use Phf7 as a starting point to identify additional pathways and genes that are involved in germline development and sex determination. We will utilize genomics approaches to study on which target genes and how PHF7 exerts its functions. In addition, we will also perform genetic screens to identify parallel pathways as well as downstream effectors of PHF7. These intertwined and complementing efforts will shed light on fundamental mechanisms of germline sex determination. As Phf7 appears to be present in many species including mammals, we also hope that our studies will provide new insights to general mechanisms of germline sex determination conserved throughout evolution.

Project IDs

Project ID:PA10501-1464
External Project ID:MOST104-2311-B182-003-MY3
Effective start/end date01/08/1631/07/17


  • germline
  • sex determination
  • development
  • epigenetics
  • Drosophila


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.