Academic Field

Biological Sciences

Faculty Mentor Name

Preethi Radhakrishnan

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

Alcohol (ethanol) addiction is a common affliction with a strong genetic component. Though mammalian systems have provided significant insight into the molecular mechanisms involved in alcohol consumption and addiction, the effects of ethanol on reproductive behavior have not been well studied. Ethanol acts on multi-pleneural pathways in order to produce heightened behavioral responses. The fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster offers vast genetic resources, tools and databases in an insect model to investigate physiological mechanisms underlying behavior. The adaptive responses of flies have been shown to be strikingly similar to those of mammalian systems such as rodents and human. This implies that ethanol affects the fly and mammalian systems in a similar manner. In this study, we have used D. melanogaster as a model to explore the relationship between extensive alcohol feeding and its effect on mate choice. Virgin male fruitflies were fed 5% sucrose and 5% yeast extract in either distilled water or 15%ethanol. The amount of food consumed was monitored over four days, after which each male fly was paired with a virgin female. Frequency of courtship behaviors and matings were noted for each pair. It was found that D. melanogaster showed consistent preference for ethanol food over non-ethanol food. The consumption of ethanol was also found to heighten courtship behavior and down regulate fertility thereby reinforcing the important link between ethanol consumption and reproductive health. These findings provide novel insights into the physiological effects of ethanol on mating behavior and behavioral plasticity.

Keywords

alcohol, ethanol, mate choice, mate preference, courtship behavior, mating behavior, Drosophila melanogaster, insects, reproduction

Start Date

10-4-2015 9:30 AM

End Date

10-4-2015 11:00 AM

Location

Holmes 214

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Apr 10th, 9:30 AM Apr 10th, 11:00 AM

The Effects of Ethanol on Courtship and Mating Preference in Drosophila melanogaster

Holmes 214

Alcohol (ethanol) addiction is a common affliction with a strong genetic component. Though mammalian systems have provided significant insight into the molecular mechanisms involved in alcohol consumption and addiction, the effects of ethanol on reproductive behavior have not been well studied. Ethanol acts on multi-pleneural pathways in order to produce heightened behavioral responses. The fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster offers vast genetic resources, tools and databases in an insect model to investigate physiological mechanisms underlying behavior. The adaptive responses of flies have been shown to be strikingly similar to those of mammalian systems such as rodents and human. This implies that ethanol affects the fly and mammalian systems in a similar manner. In this study, we have used D. melanogaster as a model to explore the relationship between extensive alcohol feeding and its effect on mate choice. Virgin male fruitflies were fed 5% sucrose and 5% yeast extract in either distilled water or 15%ethanol. The amount of food consumed was monitored over four days, after which each male fly was paired with a virgin female. Frequency of courtship behaviors and matings were noted for each pair. It was found that D. melanogaster showed consistent preference for ethanol food over non-ethanol food. The consumption of ethanol was also found to heighten courtship behavior and down regulate fertility thereby reinforcing the important link between ethanol consumption and reproductive health. These findings provide novel insights into the physiological effects of ethanol on mating behavior and behavioral plasticity.