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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31912

Title: Effects of Natural Genetic Variation in the foraging Gene on Learning and Memory Phenotypes in the Fruit Fly Drosophila melanogaster
Authors: Reaume, Christopher J.
Advisor: Sokolowski, Marla B.
Department: Cell and Systems Biology
Keywords: Behaviour
Issue Date: 11-Jan-2012
Abstract: This thesis examines how natural variation in the foraging gene (for) of Drosophila melanogaster influences several learning and memory phenotypes in adult flies. These studies are undertaken using aversive olfactory associative conditioning paradigms. Novel approaches to standard Pavlovian conditioning paradigms are used in order to test hypotheses that were formulated based on what is known concerning movement- and feeding-related behaviour in the rover (forR) and sitter (fors) variants of for. The results show that natural variation in for, which is thought to have been under balancing selection in the wild, influences adult learning and memory traits appreciably. More specifically, forR flies, who are exposed to greater environmental heterogeneity than sitters, display retroactive interference. As might be expected from their foraging behaviour, rover responses are biased towards more recent learning events. Additionally, results indicate that individual performance in a learning task was affected by allelic variation in for and through pharmacological manipulations of PKG activity levels. Interestingly, in fors, but not forR, the acquisition of information was facilitated by social interaction (i.e. being in a group). In forR, but not in fors, the type of social interaction (being with other forR or with other fors) affected learning and memory. Also, naive individual forR flies tended to follow groups of conditioned fors but not groups of conditioned forR. In several other chapters, the thesis explores recent issues in behaviour genetics. In particular, the following concepts are explored: 1) the fruit fly as model for ecological and evolutionary studies; 2) cGMP-dependent protein kinase as a modifier of behaviour in disparate species; and 3) conservation of gene function in behaviour.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31912
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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