Skip to main content

Genetic dimorphism in the taste sensitivity to trehalose inDrosophila melanogaster


A quantitative behavioral assay was developed for the measurement of taste responses to sugars inDrosophila. The amount of the intake of a sugar solution was measured colorimetrically after homogenization of flies which had consumed sugar solutions mixed with a food-dye. A two-choice method was utilized to determine the taste sensitivity to sugars. Two kinds of sugar solutions were marked with either blue or red food-dye and placed alternately in the wells of a micro test plate. Flies were allowed to choose between the two sugar solutions. By classifying and counting the coloured flies, the relative taste sensitivity could be determined. Employing these methods, a genetic dimorphism in the taste sensitivity to trehalose was found among some laboratory strains ofDrosophila melanogaster. No difference in the taste sensitivity to glucose, fructose and sucrose was found between the trehalose high-sensitivity (T-1) and the low-sensitivity (Oregon-R) strains. Trehalose concentration equivalent to 2 mmol/1 sucrose, in terms of stimulating activity, was 57 mmol/1 inOregon-R and was 10 mmol/1 inT-1. Genetic analysis showed that theTre gene, whose locus is closely linked tocx (13.6) on theX chromosome, is responsible for the difference in the taste sensitivity to trehalose.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Adler J (1975) Chemotaxis in bacteria. Annu Rev Biochem 44:431–456

    Google Scholar 

  • Dethier VG (1956) Some factors controlling the ingestion of carbohydrates by the blowfly. Biol Bull 111:204–222

    Google Scholar 

  • Falk R (1979) Taste responses ofDrosophila melanogaster. J Insect Physiol 25:87–91

    Google Scholar 

  • Falk R, Atidia J (1975) Mutation affecting taste perception inDrosophila melanogaster. Nature 254:325–326

    Google Scholar 

  • Falk R, Bleiser-Avivi N, Atidia J (1976) Labellar taste organs ofDrosophila melanogaster. J Morphol 150:327–342

    Google Scholar 

  • Isono K, Kikuchi T (1974) Autosomal recessive mutation in sugar responseof Drosophila. Nature 248:243–244

    Google Scholar 

  • Kalmus H (1971) Genetics of taste. In: Beidler LM (ed) Handbook of sensory physiology, vol IV/2. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 165–179

    Google Scholar 

  • Klein TW, DeFries JC (1970) Similar polymorphism of taste sensitivity to PTC in mice and men. Nature 225:555–557

    Google Scholar 

  • Lindsley DL, Grell EH (1968) Genetic variation ofDrosophila melanogaster. Carnegie Inst Wash Publ 627

  • Rodrigues V, Siddiqi O (1978) Genetic analysis of chemosensory pathway. Proc Indian Acad Sci 87 [B]:147–160

    Google Scholar 

  • Tanimura T, Shimada I (1981) Multiple receptor proteins for sweet taste inDrosophila discriminated by papain treatment. J Comp Physiol 141:265–269

    Google Scholar 

  • Tompkins L, Cadosa MJ, White FV, Sanders TG (1979) Isolation and analysis of chemosensory behavior mutants inDrosophila melanogaster. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 76:884–887

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Tanimura, T., Isono, K., Takamura, T. et al. Genetic dimorphism in the taste sensitivity to trehalose inDrosophila melanogaster . J. Comp. Physiol. 147, 433–437 (1982).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Glucose
  • Sugar
  • Sucrose
  • Genetic Analysis
  • Fructose