Jan 26, 2015

Large-scale assessment of olfactory preferences and learning in Drosophila melanogaster: behavioral and genetic measures

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Elisabetta Versace, Julia Reisenberger


In the Evolve and Resequence method (E&R), experimental evolution and genomics are combined to investigate evolutionary dynamics and the genotype-phenotype link. This approach requires many replicates with large population sizes, which imposes severe restrictions on the analysis of behavioral phenotypes. Aiming to use E&R for investigating the evolution of behavior in Drosophila , we have developed a simple and effective method to assess spontaneous olfactory preferences and learning in large samples of fruit flies using a T-maze. We tested this procedure on (a) a large wild-caught population and (b) 11 isofemale lines of Drosophila melanogaster . Compared to previous methods, this procedure reduces the environmental noise and allows for the analysis of large population samples. Consistent with previous results, we show that flies have a spontaneous preference for orange vs. apple odor. With our procedure wild-derived flies exhibit olfactory learning in the absence of previous laboratory selection. Furthermore, we find genetic differences in the olfactory learning with relatively high heritability. We propose this large-scale method as an effective tool for E&R and genome-wide association studies on olfactory preferences and le...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Genome-Wide Association Study
Smell Perception
Orange (Fruit)
Maze Runways

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