Genetics Olfaction Evolution Neurosiccnces

Summary: Researchers have shown the evolution of fruit flies’ senses, showing how genetic differences allow them to adapt their sense of smell and taste to different environments.

The team found that while most genes remain stable from generation to generation, a significant number have evolved to produce unique olfactory habits among different species of flies.

This study reveals not only a stabilizing role for selection in maintaining gene expression levels, but also male-biased gene expression for odor detection, pointing to sex-specific evolutionary pathways.

These findings not only deepen our understanding of the sensory adaptations of fruit flies, but also shed light on the broader evolution of the species.

Key facts:

  1. Researchers have found calming selection and significant gene expression changes in Drosophila species that shape their sense of smell.
  2. The study identified male-biased gene expression in the forelimbs of D. melanogaster, suggesting a specific role for male odor detection.
  3. This research provides insights into the evolutionary dynamics of sensory systems by understanding gender differences and sensory perception in different organisms.

Source: Queen Mary University of London

A new study by Natural relationships Reveals the hidden world of emotional evolution in fruit flies. By delving into the genes and cells behind their sensitive noses and tongues, researchers have uncovered fascinating secrets about how these tiny insects adapt their sensory organs to different environments.

Lead author of the study, Dr Roman Argello, Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Basic Cell Biology at Queen Mary University of London. “Our study shows that this is not only possible, but very common.”

This Shows The Fruit Fly.
“These findings open up exciting new avenues for understanding how gender differences evolve and influence animal behavior,” Dr Argello said. Credit: Neuroscience News

The research team analyzed gene expression patterns in five key odorant-sensing tissues in six different Drosophila species. This holistic approach allowed them to delve deeper into the molecular roots of smell than ever before.

A surprising finding is the prevalence of “stabilizing selection” that causes most genes to be expressed at similar levels across generations. However, in this sea of ​​stability, the researchers found significant changes in the expression of thousands of genes, which created the unique scent landscapes of different fly species.

“It’s like finding different islands hidden in the same vast ocean,” Dr. Argello said. “These changes in gene expression tell us about new smells, new emotions, and even new ways of using smell to navigate the world.

The study also reveals interesting differences between the sexes. In fruit flies, as in other animals, males and females often experience the world through different olfactory lenses.

The researchers in D. melanogaster identified striking male-biased gene expression in the forelimbs, suggesting that these limbs play a critical role in detecting male-specific odors.

“These findings open up exciting new avenues for understanding how gender differences evolve and influence animal behavior,” Dr Argello said.

The implications of the study go beyond the fascinating world of flies. It provides valuable insights into the general principles of how senses evolve, providing clues to understanding how other animals, including humans, perceive their chemical environment.

So genetics and evolutionary neuroscience research news

Author: Ilyana Zolotareva
Source: Queen Mary University of London
Contact: Iliana Zolotareva – Queen Mary University of London
Image: Image credited to Neuroscience News.

Preliminary study: Open Access.
Evolution of chemosensory tissues and cells in ecologically diverse Drosophila.” by Roman Argello et al Natural relationships


Evolution of chemosensory tissues and cells in ecologically diverse Drosophila.

Chemosensory tissues show considerable variation between species, but gene expression changes and the cell types underlying this variation are poorly understood.

To address these questions, we performed transcriptomic analyzes of five of six chemosensory tissues. Drosophila species and combined the findings with single cell data sets. While stabilizing selection primarily shapes chemosensory transcriptomes, thousands of genes in each tissue have produced expression differences.

Genes that changed expression in one tissue often changed in several other tissues but changed over different time periods and were more likely to be cell type-specific than genes that did not change.

In particular, chemosensory-related genes underwent extensive expression changes, including many species-specific gains/losses of novel chemoreceptor expression patterns. Gender differences are also widely seen, a D. melanogaster –Overexpression of male biases in sensory and muscle cells.

Together, our analyzes provide new insights into understanding evolutionary changes in chemosensory tissues at the global and individual gene level.

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