Gene Structure of Fruit Fly Brains Studied

OXFORD, England, March 23 (UPI) — U.K. researchers say they have identified the gene determining the structure of the male and female body in the fruit fly, as well as sex-specific behaviors.

The scientists from the University of Glasgow and Oxford University said the finding suggests the brains of males and females, and how they use them, might be far more different then previously thought, at least in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

The scientists led by Stephen Goodwin at Oxford said they discovered a gene known as “doublesex,” which determines the shape and structure of the male and female body in the fruit fly, also sculpts the architecture of the brain and nervous system, resulting in sex-specific behaviors.

“The dogma was that (the doublesex gene) made fruit flies look the way they did and fruitless made them behave the way they did,” said Goodwin. “We now know that this is not true; doublesex and fruitless act together to form the neuronal networks — the wiring — for sexual behavior.”

The findings, the scientists said, provide insight into how male and female nervous systems might be established and how that may coordinate the sex-specific physiology needed to create the complete, integrated adult sexual state.

The study is reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

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Categorized | Architecture, Other
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