Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Biology

Supervisor

Dr. Susanne Kohalmi

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Amanda Moehring

Joint Supervisor

Abstract

Behavioural isolation can occur due to divergence in aspects of courtship and mating, and can contribute to reproductive isolation. The purpose of this study is to determine how a gene, Mekk1, contributes to female rejection behaviour between D. melanogaster and D. simulans. Unique polymorphisms were identified within D. simulans Mekk1 that could contribute to behaviour, most of which are non-coding. Both transcripts of Mekk1 appear to be expressed at similar levels in D. simulans and D. melanogaster. These data also indicate that Mekk1 may be expressed in a specific region of the brain called the mushroom body, which has previously been linked to female rejection behaviour in D. simulans. It is possible that Mekk1 in D. simulans is acting through the mushroom body to mediate female rejection behaviour. This study will aid in understanding molecular contributions to behavioural isolation between species of Drosophila.