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.

Related Articles


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 October 25, 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 October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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