The C. elegans male sex-determining protein, FEM-1, has been identified as a substrate recognition subunit of a Cullin-2 ubiquitin ligase complex. This complex controls the level of TRA-1A, a Ci/Gli homolog and master regulator of sex determination, by ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis.
The scientific method, and genetic analysis in particular, is based upon identifying variations between individuals of the same species. The study of Jones et al. in this issue reveals variation in transcript abundance between two developmental stages of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegns. In this case, the variation is not genetically specified ut is induced bt the environment as part of a shift to an alternate developmental form, the daur larva. In this type of whole-genome analyses, it is assumed that such studies would reveal differences in transcript abundance that would be casusall associated with distinct molecular and morphological transformations driving development. Much of this paper is conjecture about how the observed differences in transcriipt abundance specify observed differences in longevity(or, more precisely, in mortality rate).