In this study, we analyzed gynandromorphs with female terminalia, to dissect mating-related female behaviors in Drosophila.
Materials and methods
We used gynandromorphs, experimentally modified wild-type (Oregon-R) females, and mutant females that lacked different components of the female reproductive apparatus.
Many of the gynandromorphs mated but did not expel the mating plug (MP). Some of these – with thousands of sperm in the uterus – failed to take up sperm into the storage organs. There were gynandromorphs that stored plenty of sperm but failed to release them to fertilize eggs. Expelling the MP, sperm uptake into the storage organs, and the release of stored sperm along egg production are separate steps occurring during Drosophila female fertility. Cuticle landmarks of the gynandromorphs revealed that while the nerve foci that control MP expelling and also those that control sperm uptake reside in the abdominal, the sperm release foci derive from the thoracic region of the blastoderm.
Discussion and conclusion
The gynandromorph study is confirmed by analyses of (a) mutations that cause female sterility: Fs(3)Avar (preventing egg deposition), Tm2gs (removing germline cells), and iab-4DB (eliminating gonad formation) and (b) by experimentally manipulated wild-type females: decapitated or cut through ventral nerve cord.