Article

Natural Variation in Decision-Making Behavior in Drosophila melanogaster

University of California Davis, United States of America
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 01/2011; 6(1):e16436. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016436
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT There has been considerable recent interest in using Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the molecular basis of decision-making behavior. Deciding where to place eggs is likely one of the most important decisions for a female fly, as eggs are vulnerable and larvae have limited motility. Here, we show that many natural genotypes of D. melanogaster prefer to lay eggs near nutritious substrate, rather than in nutritious substrate. These preferences are highly polymorphic in both degree and direction, with considerable heritability (0.488) and evolvability.
Relative preferences are modulated by the distance between options and the overall concentration of ethanol, suggesting Drosophila integrate many environmental factors when making oviposition decisions. As oviposition-related decisions can be efficiently assessed by simply counting eggs, oviposition behavior is an excellent model for understanding information processing in insects. Associating natural genetic polymorphisms with decision-making variation will shed light on the molecular basis of host choice behavior, the evolutionary maintenance of genetic variation, and the mechanistic nature of preference variation in general.

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    • "The analysis of OSP in the F 1 progeny of these crosses revealed that the phenotype of the F 1 was intermediate between the parental strains, suggesting that genetic differences between G and O lines are mainly additive. Previous investigations of the genetics of OSP compared egglaying preference between yeast and yeast-free media (Miller et al. 2011). The authors reported broad sense heritability close to 50% and largely dominant effects in the F 1 . "
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    ABSTRACT: Maternal decisions, like the choice of a site for laying eggs, have important ecological and evolutionary implications. In the present study, we investigated variation, both within- and between- populations in oviposition site preference in a collection of isofemale lines derived from three Drosophila melanogaster Meigen natural populations of western Argentina. In the oviposition preference assay we employed two resources that fruit flies utilize as egg laying sites in nature. Results revealed, i) the distribution of eggs across the two alternative resources offered to the flies deviated from randomness when flies were given the chance to choose between grape and orange, ii) oviposition site preference (OSP) varied within and between populations, and iii) a substantial proportion of OSP variation has a genetic basis as suggested by the significant contribution of variation among lines to total trait variance. Our survey represents an initial step in understanding patterns of natural variation in oviposition preferences for natural resources in D. melanogaster.
    Annals of the Entomological Society of America 09/2014; 107(5):944-953. DOI:10.1603/AN14050 · 1.17 Impact Factor
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    • "The analysis of OSP in the F 1 progeny of these crosses revealed that the phenotype of the F 1 was intermediate between the parental strains, suggesting that genetic differences between G and O lines are mainly additive. Previous investigations of the genetics of OSP compared egglaying preference between yeast and yeast-free media (Miller et al. 2011). The authors reported broad sense heritability close to 50% and largely dominant effects in the F 1 . "
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    ABSTRACT: The preference–performance relationship in plant–insect interactions is a central theme in evolutionary ecology. Among many insects, eggs are vulnerable and larvae have limited mobility, making the choice of an appropriate oviposition site one of the most important decisions for a female. We investigated the evolution of oviposition preferences in Drosophila melanogaster Meigen and D. simulans Sturtevant by artificially selecting for the preference for two natural resources, grape and quince. The main finding of our study is the differential responses of D. melanogaster and D. simulans. Although preferences evolved in the experimental populations of D. melanogaster, responses were not consistent with the selection regimes applied. In contrast, responses in D. simulans were consistent with expectations, demonstrating that this species has selectable genetic variation for the trait. Furthermore, crosses between D. simulans divergent lines showed that the genetic factors involved in grape preference appear to be largely recessive. In summary, our artificial selection study suggests that D. melanogaster and D. simulans possess different genetic architectures for this trait.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Insect Science 09/2014; DOI:10.1111/1744-7917.12176 · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    • "D. melanogaster exhibit extensive behavioral plasticity, and the ability to genetically manipulate the fly makes Drosophila a very attractive model to study behaviors and their underlying genetics [11], [12], [13]. Like other animals, fruit flies have complex behavioral repertoires and sensory systems that inform the decision making processes for behaviors including egg laying [14], [15], [16] and mate choice [17], [18]. To woo a female, a D. melanogaster male performs a stereotypical suite of courtship behaviors, including following, orientation towards the female, tapping, unilateral wing extension and vibration, and licking, which ultimately culminate in mounting for copulation [17]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Competition for mates is a wide-spread phenomenon affecting individual reproductive success. The ability of animals to adjust their behaviors in response to changing social environment is important and well documented. Drosophila melanogaster males compete with one another for matings with females and modify their reproductive behaviors based on prior social interactions. However, it remains to be determined how male social experience that culminates in mating with a female impacts subsequent male reproductive behaviors and mating success. Here we show that sexual experience enhances future mating success. Previously mated D. melanogaster males adjust their courtship behaviors and out-compete sexually inexperienced males for copulations. Interestingly, courtship experience alone is not sufficient in providing this competitive advantage, indicating that copulation plays a role in reinforcing this social learning. We also show that females use their sense of hearing to preferentially mate with experienced males when given a choice. Our results demonstrate the ability of previously mated males to learn from their positive sexual experiences and adjust their behaviors to gain a mating advantage. These experienced-based changes in behavior reveal strategies that animals likely use to increase their fecundity in natural competitive environments.
    PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e96639. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0096639 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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