How the fly selects its reproductive male

Even a well-characterized genome, such as that of the Drosophila the so-called fruit fly, still holds surprises. Researchers from the Department of Genetics and Evolution, in collaboration with Cornell University (USA) and the University of Groningen (Netherlands), have discovered an RNA coding for a micro-peptide – a very small protein – that plays a crucial role in the competition between spermatozoa from different males with which the female mates. In addition to shedding new light on this biological mechanism, Robert Maeda and collaborators’ work highlights the importance of small peptides, a class of proteins that is now emerging as a key player in complex biological processes.

The article was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), on April 5th 2021.

Press release