Genetic background has a major impact on differences in sleep resulting from environmental influences in Drosophila

Sleep. 2012 Apr 1;35(4):545-57. doi: 10.5665/sleep.1744.


Study objectives: To determine the effect of different genetic backgrounds on demographic and environmental interventions that affect sleep and evaluate variance of these measures; and to evaluate sleep and variance of sleep behaviors in 6 divergent laboratory strains of common origin.

Design: Assessment of the effects of age, sex, mating status, food sources, and social experience using video analysis of sleep behavior in 2 different strains of Drosophila, white(1118ex) (w(1118ex)) and white Canton-S (w(CS10)). Sleep was also determined for 6 laboratory strains of Canton-S and 3 inbred lines. The variance of total sleep was determined for all groups and conditions.

Measurements and results: The circadian periods and the effects of age upon sleep were the same between w(1118ex) and w(CS10) strains. However, the w(1118ex) and w(CS10) strains demonstrated genotype-dependent differences in the effects upon sleep of sex, mating status, social experience, and being on different foods. Variance of total sleep was found to differ in a genotype dependent manner for interventions between the w(1118ex) and w(CS10) strains. Six different laboratory Canton-S strains were found to have significantly different circadian periods (P < 0.001) and sleep phenotypes (P < 0.001). Three inbred lines showed reduced variance for sleep measurements.

Conclusions: One must control environmental conditions in a rigorously consistent manner to ensure that sleep data may be compared between experiments. Genetic background has a significant impact upon changes in sleep behavior and variance of behavior due to demographic factors and environmental interventions. This represents an opportunity to discover new genes that modify sleep/wake behavior.

Keywords: Genetic background; drosophila; sleep measurement; variance; video analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arousal / genetics
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics
  • Drosophila
  • Female
  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • Genotype*
  • Male
  • Sleep / genetics*
  • Video Recording