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Gender-Selective Patterns of Aggressive Behavior in Drosophila melanogaster

Steven P. Nilsen, Yick-Bun Chan, Robert Huber and Edward A. Kravitz
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 101, No. 33 (Aug. 17, 2004), pp. 12342-12347
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3373139
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Gender-Selective Patterns of Aggressive Behavior in Drosophila melanogaster
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Abstract

Complex behaviors, such as aggression, are comprised of distinct stereospecific behavioral patterns (modules). How such patterns get wired into nervous systems remains unknown. Recently, we reported on a quantitative analysis of fighting behavior in male flies of the common Canton-S strain of Drosophila melanogaster. Here, we report a similar analysis of fighting behavior in females of the same species. Fights were carried out between pairs of virgin and pairs of mated females in competition for a yeast resource. Each fight was videotaped and analyzed by using transition matrices and Markov chain analyses. We observe only small difference in fighting intensity between virgin and mated females. In contrast to what is seen in male fights, however, no clear hierarchical relationship is formed in the female fights. A further comparison of the behavioral patterns making up male and female fights reveals that some modules are shared by both sexes, whereas others are highly selective. Within the shared components, transitions between the modules also show gender-selective differences. By using the powerful genetic methods available for examining behavior in fruit flies, it should be possible to use the gender-selective differences in fighting behavior to address the question of how these behavioral patterns get established in the brains of fruit flies.

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