Protocols to Study Behavior in Drosophila.
Methods in molecular biology, January 2016
Wendi S. Neckameyer, Parag Bhatt
Drosophila melanogaster is an incredibly versatile organism capable of both innate and higher-order behaviors. These behaviors offer not only a way to assay whether or not the animal is physiologically compromised (e.g., feeding, locomotion), but also serve to assess changes in centrally mediated functions. Here we describe several high throughput, reproducible, yet inexpensive and facile behavioral assays for both larval and adult Drosophila. The larval assays all employ an agar substrate in a petri dish; the adult assays are grouped into "vial-based" and "arena-based" paradigms. While these protocols are largely designed to assess individual animals, they are sufficiently rapid that ample numbers can be tested to determine behavioral significance. Importantly, this also allows for one to control for reproductive status, age, and sex, since these factors all have a significant impact on adult behaviors. In general, it is best to designate a dedicated area for any assay, so that lighting conditions are consistent, and all animals should be tested at roughly the same time each day to minimize circadian fluctuations. Temperature and humidity should also be maintained at a constant level to minimize variability in the assays.
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