A method to test the effect of environmental cues on mating behavior in Drosophila melanogaster

Gorter, J. A. & Billeter, J-C., 17-Jul-2017, In : Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE. 125, p. e55690 9 p.

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An individual's sexual drive is influenced by genotype, experience and environmental conditions. How these factors interact to modulate sexual behaviors remains poorly understood. In Drosophila melanogaster, environmental cues, such as food availability, affect mating activity offering a tractable system to investigate the mechanisms modulating sexual behavior. In D. melanogaster, environmental cues are often sensed via the chemosensory gustatory and olfactory systems. Here, we present a method to test the effect of environmental chemical cues on mating behavior. The assay consists of a small mating arena containing food medium and a mating couple. The mating frequency for each couple is continuously monitored for 24 h. Here we present the applicability of this assay to test environmental compounds from an external source through a pressurized air system as well as manipulation of the environmental components directly in the mating arena. The use of a pressurized air system is especially useful to test the effect of very volatile compounds, while manipulating components directly in the mating arena can be of value to ascertain a compound's presence. This assay can be adapted to answer questions about the influence of genetic and environmental cues on mating behavior and fecundity as well as other male and female reproductive behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e55690
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number125
Publication statusPublished - 17-Jul-2017


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