The genetic basis of natural variation in mushroom body size in Drosophila melanogaster

Nat Commun. 2015 Dec 11;6:10115. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10115.

Abstract

Genetic variation in brain size may provide the basis for the evolution of the brain and complex behaviours. The genetic substrate and the selective pressures acting on brain size are poorly understood. Here we use the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel to map polymorphic variants affecting natural variation in mushroom body morphology. We identify 139 genes and 39 transcription factors and confirm effects on development and adult plasticity. We show correlations between morphology and aggression, sleep and lifespan. We propose that natural variation in adult brain size is controlled by interaction of the environment with gene networks controlling development and plasticity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / anatomy & histology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Male
  • Mushroom Bodies / anatomy & histology*
  • RNA Interference
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism

Substances

  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Transcription Factors