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Behavioral Genetics: Investigating the genes of a complex phenotype in fruit flies

Author(s): Craig E. Stanley, Jr., Charles Hadley S. King, IV, Michelle Thornton, Rob J. Kulathinal

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This laboratory exercise uses both inquiry-based and active-learning approaches to" uncover the genetic architecture of behavior in the model organism, Drosophila melanogaster. The exercise can be performed in either a single two-hour or two 60-minute lab periods and requires access to computers with an internet connection to help introduce students to modern genetic and genomic analysis. Students first will quantify behavioral interactions associated with mating in wildtype fruit flies. They will then connect these phenotypic ontologies to individual candidate genes using curated data from Drosophila’s model organism database, FlyBase. Students will explore known characteristics of chosen candidate genes including models of genic structure, genomic context, and known functional attributes including patterns of spatial and temporal gene expression.


Stanley, C. E., King, C. H. S., Thornton, M., and Kulathinal, R. J. (2016). Behavioral Genetics: Investigating the genes of a complex phenotype in fruit flies. Genetics Society of America Peer-Reviewed Education Portal (GSA PREP): 2016.001; doi: 10.1534/gsaprep.2016.001

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