In a previous post we talked about fruit flies and their amazing sense of smell. This includes the ability to navigate to a food source, as well as search out a preferred mate. However, there are other areas in which their olfactory systems come into play. This includes courting behavior (did you know the male does all the work?) and obesity. Yes - obesity can be studied in fruit flies.Image courtesy of Hans Smid, www.bugsinthepicture.com
With summer coming to an end it's time to gather the best of our behavioral research blog posts of the last couple of months. From research on the smell of fruit flies to in-home video recording studies and experiencing a conference for the first time: these articles should be on your reading list!
Those tiny flies that take over your garbage cans during the summer? They are called fruit flies (or, Drosophila, their scientific name) for a reason! They have a fantastic sense of smell, but they also have a lot more in common with us that you might think. With 75% genetic commonality with humans, particularly the genes that cause human disease, these tiny creatures are a popular animal model for researchers.
Image courtesy of Hans Smid, www.bugsinthepicture.com.
The number of children with developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has increased exponentially in the past 20 years: one out of six children in the US now suffers from a developmental disability. Of course some might say this sharp incline is due to better diagnostics and increased awareness; but whether or not this is the case, such a high prevalence is concerning. And since the environment is considered a strong contributor, chemicals such as BPA have been under investigation lately.