2014 Scholar: Tina Daniels

Fly on the Wall: An Observational Study of Courtship Behavior in Histamine-deficient Mutants of Drosophila melanogaster

Central nervous system (CNS) histamine is necessary for normal courtship in Drosophila melanogaster, but we want to determine whether males and females differ in this requirement. Two mutant fly lines were developed to test in heterotypic courtship experiments with wild-type flies. The HdcJK910 mutant has no detectable histamine while the HdcJK910; pHdcΔ32 has histamine in the periphery but not the CNS. Heterotypic mating introduced a male of one genotype to a female of a different genotype to reveal sex-specific differences in courtship. Male wild-type flies were most successful mating with HdcJK910 females, followed by the wild-type and then HdcJK910; pHdc32 females. In contrast, wild-type females mated better with wild-type males than with either the HdcJK910; pHdc32 or HdcJK910 males. This suggests that histamine affects both male and female behaviors leading to courtship, but in different ways.  This sexual dimorphism may be due to histamine levels in the CNS and periphery.

Faculty Mentor: Martin Burg, Biomedical Science


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