Basis of Dispersal Behavior in Drosophila melanogaster

Basis of Dispersal Behavior in Drosophila melanogaster

Students

2021
College

Project Summary

This summer I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant in Schmidt Lab. I worked under Ozan Kiratli, a biology doctoral candidate, on a project based on dispersal and migration of Drosophila melanogaster. Range of dispersal is a debated topic in the field and so the project attempts to find a genetic marker in D. melanogaster that explains why some choose to disperse and other do not. This required the construction of a structure that could contain all of the D. melanogaster, allow them to disperse, and allow us to capture them to conduct analysis. We sequenced the genome of the D. melanogaster that stayed sedentary and of those that dispersed, and we conducted phenotypic tests to try to find correlation between physical traits and the dispersing behavior. As a biology major interested in evolution, this experience really opened my eyes to the complete picture of research. I entered thinking everything would be white lab coats and microscopes but learned that field experiments have to be developed and built. Also, through this project I learned how every part of a research project is pivotal, from the mixing of the fly food to the level of CO2 used to paralyze the D. melanogaster. Participating in this project really solidified concepts I learned in my evolutionary biology class and solidified my plan on conducting research in the evolution field. I enjoyed the mix of hands on physical work with lab work and plan on continuing studying evolution through D. melanogaster.