Angry flies may provide insights into human aggression

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, Jan 16 (ANI): A new study into the aggressive behaviour of fruit flies has helped shed light on human aggression.

The study led by biologist David Anderso showed that Drosophila produces a pheromone - a chemical messenger - that promotes aggression, and directly linked it to specific neurons in the fly's antenna.

Most of the genes in the fruit fly are also in humans, including neurons that produce brain chemicals associated with several psychiatric disorders.

The researchers hope that the new findings may help explain relationship between the neurotransmitter dopamine and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

During the study, researchers created an experiment modelled after the traditional "bees-at-the-picnic-table" scenario using Drosophila, the common fruit fly (or more accurately, the vinegar fly).

"We developed the 'puff-o-mat' apparatus, with the idea of putting some fly food at one end, and then blowing the flies away from the food with a gentle puff of air every time they got close to it," Live Science quoted Anderson as saying

"Then we measured whether the flies became more agitated and approached the food more aggressively after experiencing this frustrating experience several times," he added.

As it turned out, they didn't even need the food.

"To our surprise, simply blowing the flies off their feet several times in a row was sufficient to get them riled up," he added.

The research team then focussed on the agitation response and found that they produce pheromone that promotes aggression.

The study appears in journal Nature. (ANI)

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