Drunk Drosophila: Analysis of Long and Short-Term Exposure of Apterous (wingless) Drosophila Melanogaster to Ethanol

New York, NY, USA – June 12, 2018

Students: Vanessa Akwada and Aina Muhd Shahrulmiza
Mentor: Latasha Wright
All 2017-2018 Projects

Brief Description: Analyze the effect of alcohol and different colors of light on wildtype Drosophilia


Alcohol and substance abuse are afflictions that have detrimental effects on its abusers. Environmental factors such as availability and societal influences are believed to affect the individual response to alcohol abuse. Drosophila melanogaster -the fruit fly- has been previously used as a model for addiction. Both humans and fruit flies demonstrate similar behaviors when intoxicated with different percentages of ethanol. In its natural environment, Drosophila melanogaster encounters high levels of ethanol. Some fruit flies subsist on rotten fruit that can contain over 5% ethanol. It has been previously shown that wild type Drosophila prefer ethanol-rich foods over ethanol after short-term exposure to ethanol. We sought to use the mutant Apterous (wingless) Drosophila and a new system of analysis to recapitulate and expand on these data. Experiments were conducted to determine Drosophila’s preference to different methods of ethanol presentation, such as ethanol-infused foods or substrates when they were starved and not starved. The results from these series of experiments led us to conclude that Apterous (wingless) Drosophila prefer ethanol-rich foods after short-term and long-term exposure regardless of concentration of ethanol.
Hypothesis: The Apterous (ap) mutant of Drosophila melanogaster will exhibit behavioral differences when exposed to ethanol or ethanol-rich foods. The duration of exposure would affect preference.