Scientists study fighting flies

Aug 16, 2006

U.S. researchers say they have conducted the first comprehensive molecular analysis of aggressive behavior in a laboratory species.

Dr. Herman Dierick and Ralph Greenspan of The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego developed an original set of assays to record and quantify aggression in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

Dierick and Greenspan devised a "two-male arena assay," in which 20 pairs of males were placed in a chamber containing separate arenas and assessed for several parameters related to aggression. More aggressive males were then mated to random females, a procedure that was repeated for more than 20 generations.

The scientists found flies in the final generation were 30 times as aggressive as those in the first generation.

The researchers say approximately 80 genes were significantly differentially expressed between the more aggressive and less aggressive flies. One of the genes, Cyp6a20, when mutated, by itself had a significant effect on aggressive behavior.

Although no generalization is possible from the preliminary data, the researchers said their assay and approach used should set a new standard for the genetic analysis of aggressive behavior.

The study appears in the journal Nature Genetics.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: New England Aquarium offering penguins 'honeymoon suites'

Related Stories

OrangeSec pair said Cortana visited Android

6 hours ago

Can, did, Cortana work on Android? A talked-about act at droidcon 2015: a presentation titled "Cracking Cortana." The OrangeSec team arrived at the Turin, Italy, event to show their work in a CortanaProxy ...

Mercury MESSENGER nears epic mission end

7 hours ago

A spacecraft that carries a sensor built at the University of Michigan is about to crash into the planet closest to the sun—just as NASA intended.

DOJ, FBI acknowledge flawed testimony from unit

8 hours ago

The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in the FBI Laboratory's microscopic hair comparison unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against ...

Dawn glimpses Ceres' north pole

8 hours ago

After spending more than a month in orbit on the dark side of dwarf planet Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft has captured several views of the sunlit north pole of this intriguing world. These images were taken ...

Recommended for you

Telling the time of day by color

Apr 17, 2015

Research by scientists at The University of Manchester has revealed that the colour of light has a major impact on how the brain clock measures time of day and on how the animals' physiology and behavior adjust accordingly. ...

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.