Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nature via Nurture : aggressiveness in Dorsophilia

As per a recent PNAS article , Dorsophilia have a gene called Cyp6a20 which is expressed more in the head when the flies are not socially isolated but have social experience. This increase in gene expression is correlated with a decrease in aggression. Thus, this gene codes for not only the genetic component of the inheritableness of aggressiveness in the Dorsophilia, but also the environmental effect of social stimulus on aggressiveness and how that environmental influence is itself dependent on genes. To make it clear, Dorsophilia that had this gene mutated showed a change in aggressiveness only for flies that were reared in social groups and had no effect when they were reared as socially isolated.

To me, this seems another case where nature and nurture do not necessarily have to work exclusively, but work in concord to give observable phenotypes. It is interesting to note that this same gene is also expressed in olfactory sensilla and this suggest that aggressiveness - socialization effect may be mediated by pheromone effects.

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