Sexually mature planarians produce sex-inducing substances that induce postembryonic development of hermaphroditic reproductive organs in asexual freshwater planarians. Although the sex-inducing substances may be useful for elucidating the mechanism underlying this reproductive switch, the available information is limited. The potency of sex-inducing activity is conserved, at least at the order level. Recently, we showed that the sex-inducing activity in the land planarian Bipalium nobile was much higher than that in freshwater planarians. In the present study, we performed bioassay-guided fractionation of the sex-inducing substances produced by B. nobile and propose that crucial sex-inducing activity that triggers complete sexualization for asexual worms of the freshwater planarian Dugesia ryukyuensis is produced by additive and/or synergetic effects of various sex-inducing substances involved in ovarian development. The current study provided an isolation scheme for the minimum-required combination of sex-inducing substances for producing crucial sex-inducing activity.
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Vol. 38 • No. 6