Presenter: Alexis C. Edwards
Advisor(s): Trudy Mackay
Author(s): Alexis C. Edwards
Graduate Program: Genetics

Title: Genomic Response to Artificial Selection on Aggressive Behavior in Drosophila melanogaster

Abstract: Aggression is a complex behavioral trait of evolutionary significance, influenced by many genes of varying effect, as well as by the environment. An organism can express aggression to secure access to food, mates, and territory. As part of our effort to characterize the genetic architecture of aggression in Drosophila melanogaster, we conducted 28 generations of artificial selection to generate lines with increased and decreased levels of aggression. A genetically heterogeneous base population was established from 60 isofemale lines derived from wild-caught flies, and progeny were assayed for aggression levels. Males with the highest and lowest levels of aggression were mated to virgin females to establish two High and two Low selection lines, and two randomly mated Control lines. The heritability of aggressive behavior, averaged over both replicates, was 0.094. We evaluated correlated responses for a variety of traits including locomotor and mating behavior, as well as whole genome transcriptional response to selection. We identified genes whose expression differs significantly between replicate high and low aggression lines, and performed functional tests of effects of candidate genes implicated from the microarray analysis on aggressive behavior.