Abstract Background Drosophila females commit tremendous resources to egg production and males produce some of the longest sperm in the animal kingdom. We know little about the coordinated regulation of gene expression patterns in distant somatic tissues that support the developmental cost of gamete production. Results We determined the non-gonadal gene expression patterns of Drosophila females and males with or without a germline. Our results show that germline-dependent expression in the non-gonadal soma is extensive. Interestingly, gene expression patterns and hormone titers are consistent with a hormone axis between the gonads and non-gonadal soma. Conclusions The germline has a long-range influence on gene expression in the Drosophila sexes. We suggest that this is the result of a germline/soma hormonal axis.