An understanding of the genetic pathways and environmental circumstances that give rise to phenotypic variation in behavior is important for human health, from the psychological, sociological and pharmacological perspectives. Variation in behavior also plays a central role in animal evolution: animals must utilize all senses and react appropriately in order to survive and procreate; and differences in sexual behavior within a species can lead to reproductive isolation and speciation. Most behaviors are quantitative traits; they exhibit continuous phenotypic variation, attributable to the joint segregation of multiple interacting genes (quantitative trait genes, QTGs) whose effects are sensitive to the environment. The long-term goal of this project is to understand the genetic basis of variation for quantitative traits in terms of phenotypic and molecular variation at individual QTGs, using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system. In the current project period, we propose to characterize the genetic architecture of two complex behaviors in Drosophila, mating behavior and locomotor reactivity. The immediate goals for this project period are: (1) To identify and characterize new candidate genes that affect these behaviors by screening for quantitative effects on behavior of P element insertional mutations; (2) To identify QTGs contributing to variation in behavior between two strains, using a combination of high resolution recombination mapping and complementation tests; and (3) To determine what candidate genes potentially contribute to naturally occurring variation in behaviors, and to linkage disequilibrium mapping to map the molecular polymorphisms (Quantitative Trait Nucleotides, QTNs) associated with naturally occurring variation in behavior at three of these candidate genes. Identification of new genes affecting Drosophila behaviors will enrich our understanding of the network of genetic interactions required to produce these complex traits.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Genetics Study Section (GEN)
Program Officer
Eckstrand, Irene A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
North Carolina State University Raleigh
Schools of Earth Sciences/Natur
United States
Zip Code
Garlapow, Megan E; Everett, Logan J; Zhou, Shanshan et al. (2017) Genetic and Genomic Response to Selection for Food Consumption in Drosophila melanogaster. Behav Genet 47:227-243
He, X; Zhou, S; St Armour, G E et al. (2016) Epistatic partners of neurogenic genes modulate Drosophila olfactory behavior. Genes Brain Behav 15:280-90
Huang, Wen; Lyman, Richard F; Lyman, Rachel A et al. (2016) Spontaneous mutations and the origin and maintenance of quantitative genetic variation. Elife 5:
Riedl, Craig A L; Oster, Sara; Busto, Macarena et al. (2016) Natural variability in Drosophila larval and pupal NaCl tolerance. J Insect Physiol 88:15-23
Hunter, Chad M; Huang, Wen; Mackay, Trudy F C et al. (2016) The Genetic Architecture of Natural Variation in Recombination Rate in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS Genet 12:e1005951
Ramaswami, Gokul; Deng, Patricia; Zhang, Rui et al. (2015) Genetic mapping uncovers cis-regulatory landscape of RNA editing. Nat Commun 6:8194
Dembeck, Lauren M; Huang, Wen; Carbone, Mary Anna et al. (2015) Genetic basis of natural variation in body pigmentation in Drosophila melanogaster. Fly (Austin) 9:75-81
Shorter, John R; Geisz, Matthew; Özsoy, Ergi et al. (2015) The Effects of Royal Jelly on Fitness Traits and Gene Expression in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS One 10:e0134612
Morgante, Fabio; Sørensen, Peter; Sorensen, Daniel A et al. (2015) Genetic Architecture of Micro-Environmental Plasticity in Drosophila melanogaster. Sci Rep 5:9785
Zwarts, Liesbeth; Vanden Broeck, Lies; Cappuyns, Elisa et al. (2015) The genetic basis of natural variation in mushroom body size in Drosophila melanogaster. Nat Commun 6:10115

Showing the most recent 10 out of 65 publications