The Behavioral Effects of a Carboxylesterase in Drosophila
The analysis of the genetic bases of behavior and its adaptive significance is complex. Until recently, the genetic analysis of behavior relied largely on quantitative genetic methodology. While this approach has been successful in identifying the degree to which genetics influence the variability in behavioral traits, it has been unable to elucidate the mechanistic bases for adaptive behavior or to reveal the possible evolutionary histories of behavioral adaptations. Work in our laboratory has been concerned principally with an understanding of the evolutionary significance of polymorphisms at enzyme-coding loci in natural populations of Drosophila. Our work has concentrated on the function and adaptive significance of a carboxylesterase polymorphism—Esterase-6 (EST-6)—in Drosophila melanogaster Meigen (Richmond et al. 1980). This work has revealed that EST-6 has several effects on the reproductive biology of Drosophila. Among these effects is a direct influence on the sexual attractiveness of mated Drosophila females. This work reveals the complexity of interactions which a single locus, presumably coding for the structure of EST-6, can have on several aspects of reproductive behavior. Our findings further demonstrate the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to problems of behavior genetics (Hirsch and McGuire 1982).
KeywordsVirgin Female Seminal Fluid Female Reproductive Tract Sexual Attractiveness Sperm Transfer
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