Navigation Links
1 missing gene leads to fruitless mating rituals
Date:7/23/2008

DURHAM, N.C. Male fruit flies missing a gene for one particular odor receptor become clueless in matters of love, scientists at Duke University Medical Center have discovered.

Because they lack the ability to read important chemical cues, these flies will indiscriminately attempt to have sex with other males, and with females who have already mated. The signals they're missing are pheromones wafting from mated females and male flies. The work appears online in Nature Neuroscience.

The researchers found that the signals from this pheromone receptor are so important to the flies that they are wired directly into the higher-order processing center of the fly's brain, which governs behavior. This direct connection surprised the scientists, who have studied other fruit fly courtship genes.

"It goes against the dogma that was established for the olfactory and taste systems," said Hubert Amrein, Ph.D., of the Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. "Our finding implies that signals from the outside don't have to go through processing stations in the chemosensory system before being connected to the higher-order brain structures."

Males without a gene called Gr32a, the gustatory receptor gene, showed normal levels of courtship with virgin females. But in competition with normal (or wild-type) male fruit flies, they were outperformed by 4 to 1. In fact, the Gr32a-lacking flies courted the male competitors in addition to the females.

To further investigate the role of the gene, researchers used decapitated, passive flies of both genders, because these do not provide any behavioral feedback that could confound the precise measurement of the sex appeal they held for the male flies being studied. Both types of males courted the decapitated virgin females equally. However, courtship attempts toward decapitated males increased only in the males lacking the Gr32a gene, and these flies attempted copulation, behavior not seen in the wild-type males.

The scientists also found that the males lacking the Gr32a gene courted females who had already mated. Wild-type males, however, were significantly less attracted by mated females, because mated females have received male pheromones during the first mating.

The hapless Gr32a-negative males tried to mate with virgin females even when they had been covered with male pheromones, behavior that the wild-type flies avoided.

"This gene was very powerful for distinguishing between genders and for determining mating status," said co-author Tetsuya Miyamoto, Ph.D., also of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. "Male pheromone is so effective that Gr32a mutants court males with almost the same intensity as they do females."

The GR32a gene is not found in humans. "In general, the development of pheromones in human sexual behavior is not as clear-cut as one would hope," Amrein said. "We know that males and females have preferences for certain olfactory cues. The mouse has an olfactory organ, and humans have a remnant of this in the nose, but it doesn't function in people. So I think it is very difficult to make any direct connections between these gene findings in fruit flies and what happens in people."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mary Jane Gore
mary.gore@duke.edu
919-660-1309
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Oldest Australian crayfish fossils provide missing evolutionary link
2. Scientists find missing evolutionary link using tiny fungus crystal
3. UCSB researcher leads worldwide study on marine fossil diversity
4. River damming leads to dramatic decline in native fish numbers
5. Study of marine snail leads to new insights into long-term memory
6. UC Davis researcher leads climate-change discovery
7. USGS science picks -- leads, feeds and story seeds
8. Restoring fish populations leads to tough choice for Great Lakes Gulls
9. Concentrating on different aspects of pain leads to breakthrough in migraine genetics
10. Exercise during pregnancy leads to a healthier heart in moms- and babies-to-be
11. Childrens Hospital leads projects to develop nations first heart assist devices for young children
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... LONDON , April 26, 2016 ... a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... to integrate the Onegini mobile security platform with ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) The integration will ... to access and transact across channels. Using this ...
(Date:4/15/2016)...  A new partnership announced today will help ... in a fraction of the time it takes ... life insurance policies to consumers without requiring inconvenient ... Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and HIV) and ... weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) available at ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new ... higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health ... mass index, and, when they opt in, share them ... to a local retail location at no cost. By ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... for clinical trials, announced today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT ... care circle with the physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Liquid Biotech ... the funding of a Sponsored Research Agreement with ... tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  The funding ... CTC levels correlate with clinical outcomes in cancer ... data will then be employed to support the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled a liquid ... to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination deficiency ... new test has already been incorporated into numerous ... types. Over 230 clinical trials are ... including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. Drugs ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... WA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... announces the release of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention ... recruitment and retention in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies ...
Breaking Biology Technology: