, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 279-295

Cuticular Hydrocarbons: Their Evolution and Roles in Drosophila Pheromonal Communication

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I review the recent literature on cuticular hydrocarbons (CHs) in Drosophila. First, the major structural features of CHs are examined in a variety of species with regard to phylogeny. The genetic bases of the CH variation between and within species have been investigated with some of the genes involved characterized and manipulated. The effect of non-genetic factors as temperature, food and development is also examined with regard to CH production. Using a model involving the stimulating or the inhibiting role of CHs, it is possible to speculate on the mechanisms of CH perception and on the role(s) that these substances could play on sexual isolation and on the evolution of pheromonal communication.