Master of Science
The neural mechanisms that underlie a female’s willingness to mate remain largely unknown. To identify the neural basis of female receptivity, I used a combination of genetic tools to temporarily induce hyperactivation or suppression of particular neural regions and receptors, then scored their effect on Drosophila melanogaster female receptivity towards conspecific or heterospecific males. I found that silencing the antennal lobe reduced female receptivity, while silencing the mushroom bodies increased receptivity towards conspecific males. Hyperactivation of Odorant receptor 47b or the mushroom body increased female receptivity. In contrast, silencing or hyperactivation of target regions had no effect on female receptivity between species. Identifying the neural basis of female receptivity within a species can illuminate how neuronal circuits integrate multiple sources of information from various modalities to subsequently produce behaviour. Further, identifying the regions that allow for between-species discrimination can also contribute to our understanding of the neural origin of speciation.
Mahabir, Pria, "Identifying the neural basis of female receptivity within and between Drosophila species" (2017). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 5012.