Epigenetic mechanisms modulate differences in Drosophila foraging behavior

Little is known about how genetic variation and epigenetic marks interact to shape differences in behavior.

Reported as: An epigenetic key to unlock behavior change October 16, 2017

“One of the big questions in the Child & Brain Development program over the years has been how experience gets embedded in our biology and the mechanisms for that,” says Sokolowski.

See for comparison: See Brain on stress: How the social environment gets under the skin (2012)

Brain circuits are plastic and remodeled by stress to change the balance between anxiety, mood control, memory, and decision making. Such changes may have adaptive value in particular contexts, but their persistence and lack of reversibility can be maladaptive.

Adaptations are energy-dependent and biophysically constrained by the pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction in all living genera.

Food energy links epigenetic effects on hormones to the affect of hormones on behavior.

See: The authors note that on page 17184, right column, first paragraph, line 4, “effect” should instead appear as “affect.”

See for comparison:

Nobody wants to belong to the party of losers. One of the best strategies in such a case is evidently an interpretation of the change as a gradual accumulation of knowledge while their work has always been at the cutting edge. — Kalevi Kull

Sokolowski’s group is a group of losers. They failed to link food energy to biophysically constrained viral latency via the pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction.

See: Dependence of RNA synthesis in isolated thymus nuclei on glycolysis, oxidative carbohydrate catabolism and a type of “oxidative phosphorylation” (1964)

The synthesis of RNA in isolated thymus nuclei is ATP dependent.

See for comparison: From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior

Molecular epigenetics. It is now understood that certain genes undergo a process called “genomic or parental imprinting.” Early in embryonic development attached methyl groups become removed from most genes. Several days later, methyl groups are reattached in appropriate sites. Fascinatingly, some such genes reestablish methylation patterns based upon whether the chromosomal segment carrying the gene came from maternal or paternal chromosomes. These sexually dimorphic patterns are labeled genomic or parental imprinting, and these imprintings are inheritable but non-genetic modifications of specific genes (Razin and Shemer, 1995; Reik, 1989; Surani, 1991; Zuccotti and Monk, 1995).

Imprinting is food energy-dependent and biophysically constrained by RNA-directed DNA methylation in the context of the pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction.

See also: Species of Drosophila (1972)

Because species have distinct food and microhabitat preferences, conspecific individuals meet more often than individuals of different species. More widespread and more potent than this ecological isolation is ethological (behavioral, sexual) isolation.


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