Behavioral Genetic Analysis of Activity Level Differences Between Two Laboratory Populations of Drosophila melanogaster

By: Corinne Kraemer '15

Advising Faculty: Phillip Barnes

In exploratory experiments examining the genetic bases of the origin of new species, two laboratory stocks of Drosophila melanogaster, ORC and 91C, were found to have markedly different mating propensities. 91C females were more than twice as likely to mate than ORC females (70% vs. 30%), while just the opposite occurs with the males (ORC 70% vs. 91C 30% mating). This reciprocal difference could be explained by a simple genetic difference in activity levels between the two stocks. This might be so because the males court the females, who are free to leave the presence of the male if they are not interested. Thus more active males are more likely to mate, while less active females are more likely to mate. We hypothesize that ORC individuals are more active than 91C individuals. This is a new research direction in our lab, and we are learning to use digital video capture of fly activity and the analysis of this behavior with computer software that can measure and describe components of the behavior.

Related Fields: Biological Sciences, Biology