Investigating the effect of collective behavior in Drosophila melanogaster
Date of Issue2016
School of Biological Sciences
Learning and memory in Drosophila melanogaster is an area in neurobiology that is heavily studied. In my project, I tested whether flies in a bigger group were approaching or avoiding a stimulus differently than flies in a smaller group. Secondly, I investigated how arousal affects the ability of Drosophila to perform during aversive conditioning. I started out using a choice assay with an aversive and appetitive condition to test for my two aims. Contrary to literature findings, the two groups, one with a higher and the other with a lower number of flies did not show a significant difference in behaviour. I then moved on to using the Multi –fly olfactory Trainer (MOT) to investigate how arousal and the number of flies affects performance during aversive olfactory conditioning. The results have shown that conditioning performance in the MOT is group dependent and proved arousal does enhance the flies’ ability to learn. I used the Kir2.1 transgene to impair signalling in Drosophila mechanosensory neurons to solidify the idea that inter-fly interactions and mechanosensation plays a critical role in conditioning performance. As an additional control experiment I used Drosophila Orco1 mutants, that are defective in olfactory perception, to show that MOT conditioning was not related to place learning.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University