Study looks at fruit fly sexual attraction

Apr 19, 2006

U.S. scientists with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute say in the frantic world of the fruit fly, courtship may depend on having the right wing spots.

The researchers have reportedly determined which elements of fly DNA make the spots appear and disappear in different species.

The experiments are among the first to identify "the deep mechanics of evolution" that underpin complex traits, said the study's senior author Sean Carroll, a Howard Hughes researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The scientists say their findings emphasize the evolutionary significance of "pleiotropic" genes -- those with multiple on-switches that enable the expression of a single gene in different tissues or at different stages of development.

"The wing spot on the fruit fly is a particularly good model because we know it constitutes a new feature that is gained or lost by evolution in different species," said Carroll. "And, since it is a spatial pattern, it gives us a chance to analyze the evolution of a physical trait."

Carroll's team collaborated with researchers from the University of Cambridge and Stony Brook University.

The study appears in the current issue of the journal Nature.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: The stapes of a neanderthal child points to the anatomical differences with our species

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Steroid links fat accumulation with egg development

Mar 19, 2015

Nutrition and metabolism are closely linked with reproductive health. Several reproductive disorders including polycystic ovary syndrome, amenorrhea, and ovarian cancer have been linked to malnutrition, diabetes, ...

Language of gene switches unchanged across the evolution

Mar 17, 2015

The language used in the switches that turn genes on and off has remained the same across millions of years of evolution, according to a new study led by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The ...

Recommended for you

Destroyed Mosul artefacts to be rebuilt in 3D

Mar 27, 2015

It didn't take long for the scientific community to react. Two weeks after the sacking of the 300 year-old Mosul Museum by a group of ISIS extremists went viral on Youtube, researchers from the ITN-DCH, IAPP ...

Boys plagiarise more than girls at school

Mar 27, 2015

Research by the University of the Balearic Islands has analysed the phenomenon of academic plagiarism among secondary school students. The study, published in the journal Comunicar, confirms that this practi ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.