Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Dr. Anne Simon


Recent studies have linked neuropsychiatric disorders to older parents. These disorders often include changes in social behaviours like the social spacing between neighbouring individuals, which can be modeled in organisms such as Drosophila melanogaster. I investigated the effects of aging on the social space between neighbouring D. melanogaster and how aging impacts the next generation. To achieve this, I used the social space assay and found that individuals become less social with age and that this effect is passed on to the first generation only. Additionally, accelerating the physiological process of aging via increased rearing temperatures or exposure to oxidative stress resulted in individuals and their progeny that were less social. Finally, I found that only male progeny of old fathers were less social. Although it is unclear how aging affects gametes leading to changes in social behaviours, the powerful model system of Drosophila will allow us to identify the underlying mechanisms.