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:2/28/2017)... 28, 2017 News solutions for biometrics, bag ... ... from 14 to 16 March, Materna will present its complete ... seamless travel is a real benefit for passengers. To accelerate ... their passenger touch point solutions to take passengers through the complete ...
(Date:2/26/2017)... DALLAS , Feb. 25, 2017  Securus ... justice technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections ... of Recidivism and Reentry. "Too often, ... State prisons and county jails are trying to ... of inmates and friends and family members. While significant ...
(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:3/24/2017)... March 24, 2017 MiMedx Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... human placental tissue allografts and patent-protected processes to develop ... of healthcare, announced today  that it will present at ... , NY.  Parker H. "Pete" Petit, Chairman and ... Christopher M. Cashman , EVP and Chief Commercialization ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... Md. , March 24, 2017  Infectex Ltd., ... (MBVF), today announced positive results of a Phase 2b-3 ... therapy regimen in patients with multidrug-resistant pulmonary tuberculosis (MDR-TB). ... scientists at Sequella, Inc. ( USA ) ... A total of 140 patients were enrolled in ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , Mar. 24, 2017 Research and Markets ... (hESC) Research - Global Strategic Business Report" report to their ... This ... Research in US$ Million. Annual estimates and forecasts are provided for ... from primary and secondary research. The report profiles ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , March 24, 2017 Sinovac Biotech Ltd. ("Sinovac" ... in China , today announced that its board ... expiration date of the plan from March 27, 2017 to March ... About Sinovac Biotech Ltd. ... Sinovac Biotech Ltd. is a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: