Faculty Sponsor

Michael Baltzley

Additional Faculty Sponsor

Kristin Latham




The status of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism for behavioral and genetic research makes it an attractive candidate for investigations of the genetic basis of magnetoreception. There are two main hypotheses for how animals detect Earth-strength magnetic fields. One hypothesis is that animals use magnetite, which forms long chains and serves as a magnetic dipole, while the other hypothesis is that animals have a light-dependent magnetic response utilizing cryptochrome. Several studies have found that Drosophila can orient to Earth-strength magnetic fields using a mechanism consistent with a cryptochrome-based magnetoreceptor, but the specifics of the findings have varied. For example, two studies found that Drosophila have an innate directional preference, while two studies found that Drosophila need to be trained in order to have a directional preference. Additionally, one study found that only male flies orient to magnetic fields, while the other studies found that both male and female flied orient to magnetic fields. To help resolve the conflicting results of these studies, we aimed to determine if Drosophila melanogaster have an innate directional preference and if orientation differs between males and females. We used a sequential Y-maze housed within a Faraday cage, the purpose of which was to block out any radio frequency (RF) fields that mat affect the choices of the flies.



Type (DCMI Terms)

Text; Image






This poster was presented at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) Annual Meeting held January 4-8, 2017 in New Orleans, LA.


In Copyright (InC)