Female sex determination in the germ line of Drosophila melanogaster is regulated by genes functioning in the soma as well as genes that function within the germ line. Genes known or suspected to be involved in germ-line sex determination in Drosophila melanogaster have been examined to determine if they are required upstream or downstream of Sex-lethal+, a known germ-line sex determination gene. Seven genes required for female-specific splicing of germ-line Sex-lethal+ pre-mRNA are identified. These results together with information about the tissues in which these genes function and whether they control sex determination and viability or just sex determination in the germ line have been used to deduce the genetic hierarchy regulating female germ-line sex determination. This hierarchy includes the somatic sex determination genes transformer+, transformer-2+ and doublesex+ (and by inference Sex-lethal+), which control a somatic signal required for female germ-line sex determination, and the germ-line ovarian tumor genes fused+, ovarian tumor+, ovo+, sans fille+, and Sex-lethal+, which are involved in either the reception or interpretation of this somatic sex determination signal. The fused+, ovarian tumor+, ovo+ and sans fille+ genes function upstream of Sex-lethal+ in the germ line.