Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Biology

Supervisor

Dr. Amanda Moehring

Abstract

Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) are produced by insects and primarily used to prevent desiccation. In Drosophila, certain compounds have secondary roles as infochemicals that may act during courtship to influence mate choice. Certain CHCs may stimulate courtship with heterospecifics or act to repel conspecifics. The CHC profile produced by an individual is the result of the interaction between its genetic background and the environment, though the genes that underlie species differences in CHC production and how the environment can modulate the abundance of individual compounds within a species is not well known. Here, candidate gene CG5946 was found to be involved in species differences in the production of 7,11-heptacosadiene and 7-tricosene in hybrids between D. melanogaster and D. simulans. In addition, diet, but not microbial content, was found to influence the proportion of long-chain CHCs produced by D. melanogaster. This study provides insight into the factors influencing CHC production in Drosophila.


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