Drosophila going the other way

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Adam Cadwallader
Adam Cadwallader's picture
Drosophila going the other way

Most scientists, including the members of ScientistSolutions.com, think about model organisms from a high vantage point.  Model organisms are dissected to understand the basics of organ and system functions, tissue and cellular functions, etc.  But what if our model systems, with all the genetic, epigenetic, anatomical and biochemical data science has accumulated, could be applied to higher order animal functions - population studies, pack order, mate choice, etc.

In a recent article and commentary,
Commentary: http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2809%2900819-7
Article: http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2809%2900889-6

Drosophila enters a new realm.  In the article by Mery, et al., they report on the ability of female Drosophila to learn mate choice from other females.  Expaning on this, what do you think the power of Drosophila can bring understanding higher order animal interactions?  Can scientists begin to understand animal behaviors to the same degree we know understand cell signaling pathways?  Can these new findings related to your research?

20101975
20101975's picture
I dont know much but I am

I dont know much but I am telling on the basis what I studied is that all the model organisms have some similarities to human being and lots of variability (that is must!)
But we choose animals for our experiments on the basis of the availability and nearness to the human beings. Drosophila has been always used for various behavioural experiments like for te genetics of addiction as well as regarding cancer.
You would have also seen the experiment of the fruit fly behaving surprisingly like humans when it gets drunk :) It turns out to be a good source of information about the activity of brain neurons and we can find out more about the behaviour patterns of the model organisms and later can correlate.

Adam Cadwallader
Adam Cadwallader's picture
20101975,

20101975,

I don't believe we choose animals for our experiments on the basis of the availability and nearness to humans.  I believe we choose model organisms based upon specific criteria - being "close" to humans as only one condition.  Zebrafish, for example, our optically clear during early development.  This has no real relation to humans, but being able to observe embryonic movements certainly aids further study.

As for behavioral studies, those studies tend to look at individual animals.  Your example with the "drunken" fly shows the behavior of a single fly when intoxicated.  The novelty of the study above is how multiple flies interact.  Most scientists tend to forget about populations and environments - all the interactions we have - like the forum here at Scientistsolutions.com.  Being able to apply genetic and biochemical analyses to these interactions should yield interesting results - especially in the nature vs nuture debate.