Navigation Links
Texas A&M study finds courtship affects gene expression in flies
Date:1/12/2011

COLLEGE STATION, Jan. 11, 2011 Biologists at Texas A&M University have made an important step toward understanding human mating behavior by showing that certain genes become activated in fruit flies when they interact with the opposite sex.

Their research, published in the January 2011 issue of the journal GENETICS, shows that courtship behaviors may be far more influenced by genetics than previously thought. In addition, this new understanding as to why and how these genes become activated within social contexts may also lead to insight into disorders such as autism.

"Be careful who you interact with," said Dr. Ginger E. Carney, associate professor of biology and co-author of the study. "The choice may affect your physiology, behavior and health in unexpected ways."

To make this discovery, Carney and a student in her laboratory, Lisa L. Ellis, compared gene expression profiles in males that courted females, males that interacted with other males and males that did not interact with other flies. The investigators identified a common set of genes that respond to the presence of either sex. They also discovered that there are other genes which are only affected by being placed with members of a particular sex, either male or female. The researchers then tested mutant flies that were missing some of these socially responsive genes and confirmed that these particular genes are important for behavior.

Carney and Ellis predict that analyzing additional similar genes will give further insight into genes and neural signaling pathways that influence reproductive and other behavioral interactions.

"This study shows that we're closing in on the complex genetic machinery that affects social interactions," said Mark Johnston, editor-in-chief of GENETICS. "Once similar genes are identified in humans, the implications will be enormous, as it could bring new understanding of, and perhaps even treatments for, a vast range of disorders related to social behavior."

Carney, who joined the Texas A&M Department of Biology faculty in 2004, earned her Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Georgia in 1998. She held positions as a postdoctoral researcher at Oregon State University (1998-2002) and as a faculty research scientist at Georgia Institute of Technology (2002-2004) prior to coming to Texas A&M, where her research focuses on the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and its genetic control of behavior and nervous system development.

Ellis earned her doctorate in biology from Texas A&M in August and now works as a research assistant in the Texas A&M Department of Entomology affiliated with Texas AgriLife Research.

Because fruit flies undergo many of the same developmental processes as larger creatures, including humans, Carney said they serve as model organisms, allowing researchers to observe details that can't necessarily be seen in more complex animals. Through this study and her future research, she hopes to learn more about how individual genes regulate behaviors from mating to central nervous system function in humans.


'/>"/>

Contact: Shana K. Hutchins
shutchins@science.tamu.edu
979-862-1237
Texas A&M University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UCSB, Texas A&M scientists find methane gas concentrations have returned to near-normal levels
2. Forecast system to warn of toxic algal outbreaks along Texas shoreline
3. Texas A&M University becomes key player in global study to save Earths endangered species
4. Texas Tech researcher: Bee colony collapse associated with viral, fungal infection
5. Improving cotton the goal of $3.8 million grant to University of Texas at Austin plant geneticist
6. Texas A&M chemical engineers work could lead to improved DNA analysis
7. Test-tube calf embryos more likely to survive Texas summers
8. Texas A&M research produces tools to study stallions subfertility
9. A river flipped: Humans trump nature on Texas river
10. Texas petrochemical emissions down, but still underestimated, says study
11. Texas A&M spring graduate contributes to mental retardation research published in Nature
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and ... global partnership that will provide end customers with ... banking and payment services.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ... area for financial services, but it also plays a fundamental ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... 27, 2016 Research and ... Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics ... during the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics ... such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  , ... global gait biometrics market is expected to grow ... 2016-2020. Gait analysis generates multiple variables ... to compute factors that are not or cannot ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: BRM) ("Biorem" or "the Company") announces ... Clean Technology Fund I, LP and Clean Technology Fund ... venture capital funds which together hold approximately 59% of ... as converted basis), that they have entered into an ... in Biorem to TUS Holdings Co. Ltd. ("TUS") (en.tusholdings.com) ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... N.C. (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... commercial operations for Amgen, will join the faculty of the University of ... as adjunct professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and ... and the 6000i models are higher end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension ... light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or ... of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for ... as WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, ... medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been ...
Breaking Biology Technology: