Identification of genes involved in Drosophila melanogaster geotaxis, a complex behavioral trait

Nat Genet. 2002 Aug;31(4):349-53. doi: 10.1038/ng893. Epub 2002 Jun 3.


Identifying the genes involved in polygenic traits has been difficult. In the 1950s and 1960s, laboratory selection experiments for extreme geotaxic behavior in fruit flies established for the first time that a complex behavioral trait has a genetic basis. But the specific genes responsible for the behavior have never been identified using this classical model. To identify the individual genes involved in geotaxic response, we used cDNA microarrays to identify candidate genes and assessed fly lines mutant in these genes for behavioral confirmation. We have thus determined the identities of several genes that contribute to the complex, polygenic behavior of geotaxis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Female
  • Genetics, Behavioral / methods*
  • Mutation*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis


  • DNA, Complementary