Specific Cells Triggers Aggression In The Male Fruit Flies


Whenever a piece of ripe fruit is left unattended, fruit flies come attracted by its smell. The group of fruit flies seems to competing with each other for a larger portion however, it may not be the case. On observing closely, researchers found male flies knock around fighting, especially if there are females or sweet ripe fruit around. 

The study conducted by biologist David Anderson in the fly laboratory of California Institute of Technology (Caltech), reveals that the presence of fight encouraging cells in the brain, makes the male fruit flies (popularly known as Drosophilae) actually bump heads more than the female flies. And these special cells are apparently missing in the brains of the female fruit flies.

Researcher Anderson said:

The sex-specific cells that we identified exert their effects on fighting by releasing a particular type of neuropeptide, or hormone, that has also been implicated in aggression in mammals including mouse and rat. In addition, there are some recent papers implicating increased levels of this hormone in people with personality disorders that lead to higher levels of aggression.

The genes present in the fruit flies are similar to those present in humans and even perform similar roles.

To understand more about aggression in fruit flies, a library was created which included different fly lines. In each of these line, a distinct set of particular neurons (capable of releasing a distinct neuropeptide), was genetically named which could be artificially triggered. Upon activation of the neurons for forty lines, increase in the aggression level was examined. Researchers found neurons expressing tachykinin (TK) was the most influential of all in increasing the aggression. Further, for the analysis, genetic tools were implied to find which neuron was actually liable for the aggression and to check if the gene encoding TK can control aggression by acting in that cell.

Another researcher Kenta Asahina said:

We had to winnow away the different cells to find exactly which ones were involved in aggression-that’s how we discovered that within this line, there was a male-specific set of neurons that was responsible for increased aggressive behavior.

These findings in future can help researchers working to find a treatment for the conditions like personality disorders in humans. With further research, the study might detect the gene (in humans) that is responsible for such kind of behavior and so accordingly, some method can be devised for its control. Next time when you see an aggressive man, remember it’s not him rather the gene is to be blamed :-l

Source: Science World Report

Explore further

Leave a Comment