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Study Uncovers Genetic Modulator of Aggression in Fruit Flies

A genetic component of aggression control in fruit flies is reported in Science Advances this week, helping to better understand an important mechanism of maintaining social structures. While aggression among animals is important to survival, so too is de-escalation when the costs of such behavior outweigh the benefits. Yet little is known about the processes that suppress combativeness. In the study, scientist from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies studied the behavior of normal fruit flies with that of ones in which various genes of interest had been knocked down. They found that the lack of the neuronal transcription regulator nervy — a Drosophila homolog of vertebrate myeloid translocation genes — increased aggressiveness in socially experienced flies as well as identified a subset of neurons that use nervy to control aggression. "Our findings will serve as an entry point for understanding the circuit and molecular mechanisms that mediate a behavioral transformation associated with social experience in the fly," the study's authors conclude. "Comparative studies across animal species will help identify evolutionarily conserved genetic and neuronal motifs that are necessary for adaptive behavioral changes according to different levels of social experiences."

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.