Houseflies collected from eight pig-breeding farms were used to investigate the nature of sex determinants in fly populations of South-East England. Earlier observations had shown that their sex determination mechanism was not of the standard (XX females, XY males) type.
Most flies of both sexes were XX; the male determining Y chromosome of standard populations was rare. Test-crosses to females of standard multimarked strains and crosses using aneuploid (OX) flies identified two dominant male determinants, one on autosome 3 (M III) and another on the X chromosome (Xm), and provided the first demonstration in this species of an active involvement of the X chromosome in sex determination. A small secondary constriction on X appeared to indicate reliably the presence of Xm. Most individuals in field populations were Xm homozygotes, implying the presence of an unlocated female determinant F,† epistatic to Xm and M III.
M III was less common and differed in frequency between samples. Its increased frequency in a strain selected in the laboratory with the pyrethroid insecticide permethrin might be due either to genetic drift, or to linkage between M III and a gene on autosome 3 that confers resistance to pyrethroids in houseflies.