Title

Directional preference in Drosophila

Date

5-29-2014 2:00 PM

End Time

29-5-2014 4:00 PM

Location

Werner University Center (WUC) Pacific Room

Department

Biology

Session Chair

Ava Howard

Session Title

Research in the Biological Sciences

Faculty Sponsor(s)

Kristin Latham & Michael Baltzley

Presentation Type

Poster session

Abstract

Diverse organisms, including birds, sea turtles, lobsters, and sharks have been shown to use Earth-strength magnetic fields to navigate. We are examining whether the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has a directional preference and if this preference has genetic underpinnings. In order to answer these questions we designed a Y-maze in which each fly makes 10 sequential choices to go north or south. To breed a population of north-seeking flies, we record the distribution of flies exiting the maze and select the northern-most 20% to give rise to the next generation. We are using a similar protocol to breed a population of south-seeking flies. Our data show that wild-type Drosophila do not have a distinct innate preference for either north or south. Moreover, after four generations we have not produced a population of flies with a directional preference. As a positive control we are running a similar experiment to look at phototaxis. Our data show that flies exhibit positive phototaxis but we have not been able to generate separate populations of positive- and negative-phototaxic flies. These experiments will be continued for 15 generations. Our findings will contribute to a better understanding of the genetics of magnetic orientation and directional preference.

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May 29th, 2:00 PM May 29th, 4:00 PM

Directional preference in Drosophila

Werner University Center (WUC) Pacific Room

Diverse organisms, including birds, sea turtles, lobsters, and sharks have been shown to use Earth-strength magnetic fields to navigate. We are examining whether the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has a directional preference and if this preference has genetic underpinnings. In order to answer these questions we designed a Y-maze in which each fly makes 10 sequential choices to go north or south. To breed a population of north-seeking flies, we record the distribution of flies exiting the maze and select the northern-most 20% to give rise to the next generation. We are using a similar protocol to breed a population of south-seeking flies. Our data show that wild-type Drosophila do not have a distinct innate preference for either north or south. Moreover, after four generations we have not produced a population of flies with a directional preference. As a positive control we are running a similar experiment to look at phototaxis. Our data show that flies exhibit positive phototaxis but we have not been able to generate separate populations of positive- and negative-phototaxic flies. These experiments will be continued for 15 generations. Our findings will contribute to a better understanding of the genetics of magnetic orientation and directional preference.