Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Identify Gene That Controls Sex Drive In Male Flies

Date:
November 18, 2002
Source:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Summary:
As published in Genes & Development, a team of research scientists has identified a gene, called takeout, that may help provide a genetic basis for the old adage "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" – at least in flies. Dr. William Mattox and Brigitte Dauwalder at MD Anderson Cancer Center (Texas) have discovered that the Drosophila takeout gene, previously noted for its role in promoting starvation tolerance, is also necessary for normal male courtship behavior.

As published in Genes & Development, a team of research scientists has identified a gene, called takeout, that may help provide a genetic basis for the old adage "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" – at least in flies. Dr. William Mattox and Brigitte Dauwalder at MD Anderson Cancer Center (Texas) have discovered that the Drosophila takeout gene, previously noted for its role in promoting starvation tolerance, is also necessary for normal male courtship behavior.

Many of the sex-specific features that distinguish males and females of any species are genetically predetermined. Using the Drosophila fruit fly as a model organism, Dr. Mattox and Dauwalder are interested in elucidating the genetic components of sexually dimorphic morphology, physiology, and even, to some extent, behavior.

Over the years, many of the major steps in the Drosophila sex determination pathway have been identified, including the activation of sex-specific forms of the master gene regulators Doublesex (DSX) and Fruitless (FRU). The male and female forms of DSX and FRU regulate the expression of a host of largely undefined target genes, which, in turn, direct the development of sexually dimorphic traits.

In their most recent report, Mattox and Dauwalder identify takeout as one such target gene, and reveal a previously unidentified role for it in male fly courtship behavior. The research team discovered that takeout gene expression is regulated in a sex-specific manner by DSX and FRU: only in males is takeout expressed in the head (more specifically, in brain-associated clusters of fat cells).

The researchers showed that mutations affecting the male-specific expression of takeout in the head result in decreased male courtship behavior. Adult male fruit flies exhibit a series of well-characterized courtship behaviors, which include the persistent following of the female and the vibration of one wing to generate a mating song. Dr. Mattox and colleagues observed that adult male flies in which takeout is mutated maintained the ability to perform these behaviors, but did so less often – apparently suffering from a decreased motivation to mate.

"The new work shows that in well-fed flies the takeout gene is active almost exclusively in males and motivates them to court females… It is interesting and unexpected that products synthesized from male fat cells influence sexual behavior in the fruitfly," explains Dr. Mattox.

In addition to identifying a gene that directly mediates sexual behavior, this discovery that the male-specific expression of takeout in the adult fly head is required for normal courtship behavior is also prompting some researchers to consider that perhaps takeout plays a broader biological role balancing the appetite for food and sex.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Scientists Identify Gene That Controls Sex Drive In Male Flies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021118070025.htm>.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. (2002, November 18). Scientists Identify Gene That Controls Sex Drive In Male Flies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021118070025.htm
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Scientists Identify Gene That Controls Sex Drive In Male Flies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021118070025.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins