Genetics and genomics of Drosophila mating behavior

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 May 3;102 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):6622-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0501986102. Epub 2005 Apr 25.


The first steps of animal speciation are thought to be the development of sexual isolating mechanisms. In contrast to recent progress in understanding the genetic basis of postzygotic isolating mechanisms, little is known about the genetic architecture of sexual isolation. Here, we have subjected Drosophila melanogaster to 29 generations of replicated divergent artificial selection for mating speed. The phenotypic response to selection was highly asymmetrical in the direction of reduced mating speed, with estimates of realized heritability averaging 7%. The selection response was largely attributable to a reduction in female receptivity. We assessed the whole genome transcriptional response to selection for mating speed using Affymetrix GeneChips and a rigorous statistical analysis. Remarkably, >3,700 probe sets (21% of the array elements) exhibited a divergence in message levels between the Fast and Slow replicate lines. Genes with altered transcriptional abundance in response to selection fell into many different biological process and molecular function Gene Ontology categories, indicating substantial pleiotropy for this complex behavior. Future functional studies are necessary to test the extent to which transcript profiling of divergent selection lines accurately predicts genes that directly affect the selected trait.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosomes
  • Copulation / physiology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Female
  • Genes, Insect / genetics
  • Genomics*
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics