Circadian rhythms of locomotor activity in Drosophila

Behav Processes. 2003 Sep 29;64(2):161-175. doi: 10.1016/s0376-6357(03)00133-5.


Drosophila is by far the most advanced model to understand the complex biochemical interactions upon which circadian clocks rely. Most of the genes that have been characterized so far were isolated through genetic screens using the locomotor activity rhythms of the adults as a circadian output. In addition, new techniques are available to deregulate gene expression in specific cells, allowing to analyze the growing number of developmental genes that also play a role as clock genes. However, one of the major challenges in circadian biology remains to properly interpret complex behavioral data and use them to fuel molecular models. This review tries to describe the problems that clockwatchers have to face when using Drosophila activity rhythms to understand the multiple facets of circadian function.