General and Comparative Endocrinology vol:111 issue:3 pages:245-260
Mammals have two genes (SRY and DMT1) for testis formation-androgenesis, an anti-testis gene, DAX1, an anti-Mullerian duct hormone, and steroid sex hormones. Drosophila uses the sex-lethal, transformer and doublesex genes for sexual differentation and is supposed to lack sex hormones. However, the statement that insects do not have sex hormones loses much of its credibility if one considers (1) the classical endocrinological work on sexual differentiation in the firefly Lampyris and in the hevea tussock moth Orgyia; (2) the recent identification of an androgenic hormone and its role in sex determination in the isopod Armadillidium; (3) the similarity between steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) of mammals and fushi tarazu factor 1 (FTZ-F1) of Drosophila; and (4) the steroidogenic effect of gonadotropins secreted by the brain of female locusts and mosquitoes and of male gypsy moth. In our model, based on data from the literature, ecdysone, when present in high concentrations, might function as an androgenic sex steroid. It is also the precursor of 20-OH-ecdysone, which is the moulting hormone of insects, and in vitellogenic females of many species, the counterpart of estrogens as well. Other gender-specific hormones are likely to exist in the brain-gonad axis. (C) 1998 Academic Press.