In Drosophila, the enhancer-trap line mgm1 is already specifically expressed in male germ cells. Staining is first detected in 10-hour-old embryos and it is found in later stem cells. This line, which reveals the earliest sex-specific gene expression in the germline known so far, is a useful molecular marker to assess the sexual pathway that germ cells have entered before any overt sexual dimorphism is apparent. XY germ cells that develop in feminized animals express mgm1, which shows that this marker is autonomously expressed in XY germ cells. However, XX germ cells that develop in masculinized animals also express mgm1. Therefore, somatic sex-determining signals have already acted on XX germ cells in 10-hour-old embryos.