MSU CogSci Edward Kravitz - April 4, 2011

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"Genetic manipulations in the fruit fly fight club: sex and war in a single gene and other stories."

Abstract for talk: Male and female flies fight in same sex pairings. Some of the behavioral patterns seen during fights are the same in male and female flies: some are sex selective. The fruitless gene of the sex determination hierarchy plays a role in determining whether flies fight like males or females. Male flies establish hierarchical relationships while females do not. Learning and memory accompany the establishment of these relationships, and defeated flies develop a "loser mentality" in which they lose all second fights. Decision making of whether to court or fight in male flies depends on cues from primary senses, and also on the behavior of a second fly. As in other species, amines serve roles in multiple behaviors in flies. Using genetic methods, the function of single amine neurons can be altered, allowing definition of the behavioral functions served by these neurons. These and other topics will be covered in this seminar.


Suggested Readings:

Fernandez et al. (2010). Pheromonal and Behavioral Cues Trigger Male-to-Female Aggression in Drosophila. PLoS Biology, 8: 11.[.pdf]

Huber, R. & Kravitz, E. (2010). Aggression: towards an integration of gene, brain and behaviour. In Social Behaviour: Genes, Ecology and Evolution, ed. Tamás Székely, Allen J. Moore and Jan Komdeur. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. [.pdf]

Vrontou et al. (2010). Fruitless regulates aggression and dominance in Drosphila. Nature Neuroscience.[.pdf]

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