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Master of Science




Brent Sinclair


I used Drosophila melanogaster as a model to study the role of the gut microbiota, specifically yeasts, in animal physiology. I used Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the yeast commonly included in Drosophila diet, and Lachancea kluyveri, isolated from some Drosophila in the wild, and generated axenic (germ-free) and gnotobiotic (yeast-fed) flies. I found that L. kluyveri persists in the crop, as ascospores and vegetative cells, longer than S. cerevisiae. Some L. kluyveri vegetative cells survive passage through the gut. Egg to adult development time is reduced by 14% in vials containing live L. kluyveri or S. cerevisiae, whereas heat-killed yeasts reduced development time by 3.5-4.5%. Chill coma recovery time was decreased from 27 to 17 minutes by live L. kluyveri, but not heat-killed yeast. I conclude that there is a biological interaction between D. melanogaster and gut yeast, and that this system is suitable to explore the role of gut-associated yeasts on animal physiology.

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