Navigation Links
Fruit flies drawn to the sweet smell of youth
Date:2/8/2012

HOUSTON -- (Feb. 9, 2012) Aging takes its toll on sex appeal and now an international team of researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Michigan find that in fruit flies, at least, it even diminishes the come-hither effect of the chemicals of love pheromones.

"This is new because we have direct evidence that the pheromones produced at these different ages affect sexual attractiveness differently," said Tsung-Han Kuo, a graduate student in the department of molecular and human genetics and the Huffington Center on Aging at BCM. Kuo is first author of the report that appears online in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Pheromones are chemicals produced by an organism to communicate or attract another. In this case, Drosophila melanogaster or fruit flies produce chemicals called cuticular hydrocarbons. Special mass spectrometry studies that looked in detail at the composition and level of production of these hydrocarbons showed that they differed between the sexes, but more important, they changed with age.

"In fact, cuticular hydrocarbon production may be an indicator of the insect's health and fertility," said Kuo. Reproduction is one of the major activities of the short-lived insects, and they enhance the possibility of passing on their genes through the production of these pheromones. Unfortunately, the alluring effect of the chemicals wanes with age.

"The results were remarkably consistent across different strains of flies," said Dr. Scott Pletcher, now of the University of Michigan, and Kuo's initial mentor at BCM.

Kuo, Pletcher and Dr. Herman A. Dierick, assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at BCM, then determined how the pheromones produced at different ages affected the attractiveness of the fruit flies.

Using a specially designed holding cell, Kuo introduced a male fly into a chamber that contained two females a young fly and an old fly. Video of the encounter showed that the male was much more attracted to the young fly.

To eliminate physical appearance from the equation, he then conducted the experiment in the dark. The males still courted the young females more vigorously. When the scientists washed the pheromones off the females' bodies, the males could no longer tell a difference between young and old.

"In the last analysis, we took the pheromone from the young and old flies and put it on flies that do not produce pheromones," said Kuo. "The flies were identical in every way but the males still preferred the flies with the 'younger' pheromone."

"We know that aging is conserved across species," said Pletcher. "We want to examine the exciting possibility that the mechanisms underlying attractiveness are also conserved across species."


'/>"/>

Contact: Glenna Picton
picton@bcm.edu
713-798-4710
Baylor College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. How eating fruit and vegetables can improve cancer patients response to chemotherapy
2. Women double fruit, veggie intake with switch to Mediterranean diet plan
3. When it comes to sleep research, fruit flies and people make unlikely bedfellows
4. Scientists unlock possible aging secret in genetically altered fruit fly
5. Tuning in on cellular communication in the fruit fly
6. Fruit flies sick from mating
7. Caltech researchers train computers to analyze fruit-fly behavior
8. Drinking 100 percent fruit juice is associated with lower risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome
9. P[acman]-generated fruit fly gene library: A new research tool
10. Sugarcoating fruit fly development
11. Scripps Research scientists observe human neurodegenerative disorder in fruit flies
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/1/2017)...  Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE), a leading supplier of ... Moberg has resigned, effective March 3, 2017, as ... and Treasurer of Aware citing a desire to retire.  ... of the Board of Directors of Aware. ... and co-President, General Counsel has been named Chief Executive ...
(Date:2/27/2017)... , Feb. 27, 2017   Strategic Cyber Ventures ... it has led a $3.5 million investment in  Polarity ... Strategic Cyber Ventures is DC based and is led ... Hank Thomas . Ron Gula , also a ... also participated in this series A round of funding. ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... and PORTLAND, Ore. , Feb. 22, ... Avamere Family of Companies (Avamere Health Services, Infinity Rehab, ... six-month research study that will apply the power of ... senior living and health centers. By analyzing data streaming ... gain insights into physical and environmental conditions, and obtain ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... that exhibits both viscous and elastic characteristics when deformed, which is identical to ... properties to gently absorb compressive forces and return to its natural state along ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... DUBLIN , Mar 23, 2017 ... "Biorefinery Products: Global Markets" report to their offering. ... The ... from $466.6 Billion in 2016 at a CAGR of 8.9%, ... of energetic and non-energetic bioproducts into seven major product segments: ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017  SeraCare ... to global in vitro diagnostics manufacturers and ... the industry,s first multiplexed Inherited Cancer ... testing by next-generation sequencing (NGS). The Seraseqâ„¢ ... developed with input from industry experts to ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... MENLO PARK, Calif., March 23, 2017  BioPharmX ... developing products for the dermatology market, today reported ... Jan. 31, 2017, and will provide an update ... from the year. "We are pleased ... productive year for BioPharmX," said President Anja Krammer. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: