Navigation Links
Fly's courtship sheds light on the formation of innate behaviors

By studying how genes influence the development and use of neural circuits that control a specific set of mating behaviors in the fruit fly, researchers have provided new insight into how instinctual behaviors ?those that are not based on prior experience ?arise in the developing nervous system. The work is reported by Jean-Christophe Billeter and other members of Stephen Goodwin's group at the University of Glasgow, along with research groups at Brandeis and California State University, and appears in the June 6th issue of Current Biology.

Instinctual behaviors, such as suckling in newborns, or the flight-fight response, are generally seen as subconscious drives underlying the actions of humans and other animals. Yet the manner by which these innate behaviours are hard-wired into our brains remains obscure.

In their new work, the researchers set out to address this question using mutations that perturb the stereotypical male courtship behavior of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The male fly, in its attempt to mate, will perform a series of complex behaviours ?including following females, singing, licking, and tapping ?that are not based on the fly's past experience. One gene, fruitless, has been shown to be pivotal to the emergence of these stereotypical behaviours. Fruitless is known to generate a variety of similar but functionally different proteins, some of which are exclusively expressed in male flies.

Using a mutant that specifically disrupts one form of the Fruitless protein, the researchers showed that the male fly's sexual behavior is not a closed neural circuit, but rather a series of independent but interlinked steps that are regulated to have an additive effect on the success of the courtship behavior as a whole.

Studying various mutants, the researchers were able to uncouple the later steps of copulation from the earlier courtship steps, assigning specific populations of neurons to the behaviors involved, and the reby going a long way in describing how the neural code for these behaviors is formulated in the developing fly's brain. This work, in conjunction with other studies performed by these and other research groups in recent years, shows how fundamentally important one gene can be to effecting a behavior, and how that behavior can be altered (and potentially evolve) as the gene itself is affected by external cues, by interactions with other genes, and by the organism's neuronal environments.


'"/>

Source:Cell Press


Related biology news :

1. Past experience of pheromones induces dominant courtship behavior in fruit flies
2. Bacteria collection sheds light on urinary tract infections
3. Sea skate experiment sheds light on human cell transport
4. Bacterial genome sheds light on synthesizing cancer-fighting compounds
5. Newly discovered genetic disease sheds light on bodys water balance
6. Multi-species genome comparison sheds new light on evolutionary processes, cancer mutations
7. Gene discovery sheds light on causes of rare disease, cancer
8. Skull study sheds light on dinosaur diversity
9. OHSU discovery sheds light into how stem cells become brain cells
10. Clock molecules sensitivity to lithium sheds light on bipolar disorder
11. Lizard third eye sheds light on evolution of color vision
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/5/2017)...  The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces ... portal and dynamic digital window into the human cell. ... application of deep learning to create predictive models of ... a growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell ... publicly available resources created and shared by the Allen ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... , April 3, 2017  Data ... precision engineering platform, detected a statistically significant ... product prior to treatment and objective response ... the potential to predict whether cancer patients ... to treatment, as well as to improve ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... , March 29, 2017  higi, the health IT ... North America , today announced a ... the acquisition of EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition ... of tools to transform population health activities through the ... data. higi collects and secures data today ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/19/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Tunnell Consulting has been solving the most complex ... challenges faced by life sciences, biotech and pharmaceuticals companies today is in interpreting the ... , who is well known in the industry and brings significant high-level expertise to ...
(Date:6/16/2017)... , ... June 16, 2017 , ... CTNext , ... Innovation Awards (EIA), held at The LOFT at Chelsea Piers in Stamford. , Nine ... to a panel of judges for an opportunity to secure $10,000 awards to help ...
(Date:6/15/2017)... ... 15, 2017 , ... angelMD announced the closure of a ... angelMD’s SVP of Corporate Development, served as the syndicate leader for this first ... Saranas’ recently announced $4 million Series B financing round. , Saranas is working ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... ... June 14, 2017 , ... The Thailand Board ... announces that they’re co-hosting a delegation from Thailand at BIO 2017 in San ... industry gathering in the world, regroups more than 1,100 biotech companies, academic institutions, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: