Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Genetic Dissection of Sexual Behaviour

Chaining fruitless mutant males
Chaining fruitless mutant males

We use Drosophila courtship behaviour to study how sex-specific neural circuitry and behaviours are established during development by the action of complex networks of genes. Our studies focus on two pivotal transcription factors of the sex-determination hierarchy, fruitless (fru) and doublesex (dsx), that act together to specify and configure both the anatomy and physiology of sex-specific neural circuitry. Ultimately we aim to understand how activity in functioning dimorphic neural circuits gives rise to a different sex-specific behavioural repertoire in the male and female fly. Our work has provided fundamental and original insight into how genetically determined variation in the structure and function of neural circuits gives rise to sex-specific differences in behaviour and into the molecular mechanisms that underpin this variation.

We are part of the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour along with the groups of Gero Miesenböck and Scott Waddell.





The Leverhulme Trust

In the News

Welcome Trust

A postcoital switch: mapping the changing behaviours in the female fruit fly's mind

Sex on the brain: 'Doublesex' gene key to determining fruit fly gender

Stephen receives Welcome Trust Senior Investigator Award

Current Biology

Stephen Goodwin's Q&A Current Biology

New York Times

Female fruit flies like one mate, or his brother

The Royal Society

The ‘in-law effect’ – male fruit flies sleep around but females keep it in the family

German Public Radio (Deutschlandfunk)

Der Sexschalter von Drosophilia

ABC Radio National Australia

The Science Show interviewed by Robyn Williams - Sex-specific behaviour revealed by fruit flies

Our team

Selected publications


Same genome, different worlds: How a similar brain causes sexually dimorphic behaviours

A new paper from the Goodwin group based in DPAG's Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour has shown how males and females are programmed differently in terms of sex.

Nervous system cells defined in unprecedented detail

The collaborating groups of Professor Stephen Goodwin and Professor Scott Waddell based in The Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour (CNCB) are shedding new light on what precisely constitutes a neuronal cell type.

Postdoctoral researchers and students shine at Neuroscience Theme Day

The talks given by Postdoctoral Research Scientists and Graduate Students highlighted the full range of research in DPAG, spanning molecular and cellular neuroscience all the way to systems neuroscience.

Winners of the DPAG Poster Day 2018 announced

Congratulations to winner Dr Lukas Krone and runners-up Eboni Bucknor and Sebastian Birtles.

Neural pathways in complex mating rituals identified in fruit flies

Scientists have identified the neural pathway in male fruit flies that allows them to perform their complex mating ritual, paving the way for deeper studies into sexual behavior and how it can be modified by social experience.

Three new Professors in DPAG

This year’s exercise for the Recognition of Distinction awards Stephen Goodwin, Richard Wade-Martins and Clive Wilson for their outstanding academic contribution to DPAG and to the wider University.

Related research themes

We host a number of internationally recognised neuroscience groups, with expertise in a wide range of experimental and computational methods.

We host a number of internationally recognised ...

We dissect the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying a range of developmental and reproductive processes.
Development & Cell Biology

We dissect the molecular and cellular mechanisms ...

We play a leading role in the development of more efficient and cost-effective sequencing technologies.
Functional Genomics

We play a leading role in the development of more ...