Genetic Background Has a Major Impact on Differences in Sleep Resulting from Environmental Influences in Drosophila

  • Zimmerman J
  • Chan M
  • Jackson N
  • et al.
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Study Objectives: To determine the effect of different genetic backgrounds on demographic and environmental interventions that affect sleep and evaluate variance of these measures; and to evaluate sleep and variance of sleep behaviors in 6 divergent laboratory strains of common origin. Design: Assessment of the effects of age, sex, mating status, food sources, and social experience using video analysis of sleep behavior in 2 different strains of Drosophila, white 1118ex (w 1118ex) and white Canton-S (w CS10). Sleep was also determined for 6 laboratory strains of Canton-S and 3 inbred lines. The variance of total sleep was determined for all groups and conditions. Measurements and Results: The circadian periods and the effects of age upon sleep were the same between w 1118ex and w CS10 strains. However, the w 1118ex and w CS10 strains demonstrated genotype-dependent differences in the effects upon sleep of sex, mating status, social experience, and being on different foods. Variance of total sleep was found to differ in a genotype dependent manner for interventions between the w 1118ex and w CS10strains. Six different laboratory Canton-S strains were found to have significantly different circadian periods (P < 0.001) and sleep phenotypes (P < 0.001). Three inbred lines showed reduced variance for sleep measurements. Conclusions: One must control environmental conditions in a rigorously consistent manner to ensure that sleep data may be compared between experiments. Genetic background has a significant impact upon changes in sleep behavior and variance of behavior due to demographic factors and environmental interventions. This represents an opportunity to discover new genes that modify sleep/wake behavior.




Zimmerman, J. E., Chan, M. T., Jackson, N., Maislin, G., & Pack, A. I. (2012). Genetic Background Has a Major Impact on Differences in Sleep Resulting from Environmental Influences in Drosophila. Sleep, 35(4), 545–557.

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