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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 behaviors 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, Martin Booth, Scott Waddell, Korneel Hens and Tim Vogels.

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