Precocene causes male determination in the aphid Myzus persicae

Dinah F. Hales*, Thomas E. Mittler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


When adult apterous viviparous females of Myzus persicae, reared in short night conditions at 21-23°C, are treated with the precocene analogue 6-methoxy-7-ethoxy-2,2-dimethylchromene, they deposit males towards the end of their reproductive lives. The first-born normal daughters of the treated females also deposit some males at various times in their reproductive lives. Karyotypic analysis was used to investigate the sequence of male and female embryos in the ovarioles of precociously metamorphosed aphids. The experiments support the hypothesis (Mittler et al., 1979) that juvenile hormone level controls the sex determination process in aphids. Since male aphids have an XO sex chromosome constitution, this implies that juvenile hormone level influences the behaviour of the X-chromosomes at or before the single maturation division of the egg. At this division one X-chromosome is eliminated from eggs which will develop as males. Aphids provide the first example of a specific endocrine influence on chromosome behaviour in sex determination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-823
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1983


  • 2-dimethylchromene
  • 6-methoxy-7-ethoxy-2
  • aphids
  • juvenile hormone
  • Myzus persicae
  • precocene
  • sex determination
  • X-chromosomes


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