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The initial signals governing sex determination vary widely among insects. Here we show that Armigeres subalbatus M factor (AsuMf), a male-specific duplication of an autosomal gene of the Drosophila behaviour/human splicing (DBHS) gene family, is the potential primary signal for sex determination in the human filariasis vector mosquito, Ar. subalbatus. Our results show that AsuMf satisfies two fundamental requirements of an M factor: male-specific expression and early embryonic expression. Ablations of AsuMf result in a shift from male- to female-specific splicing of doublesex and fruitless, leading to feminization of males both in morphology and general transcription profile. These data support the conclusion that AsuMf is essential for male development in Ar. subalbatus and reveal a male-determining factor that is derived from duplication and subsequent neofunctionalization of a member of the conserved DBHS family.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Animals, Female, Humans, Male, Culicidae, Drosophila, Family, Filariasis, Mosquito Vectors, Sex Differentiation