In the Evolve and Resequence method (E&R), experimental evolution and genomics are combined to investigate evolutionary dynamics and the genotype-phenotype link. As other genomic approaches, this methods requires many replicates with large population sizes, which imposes severe restrictions on the analysis of behavioral phenotypes. Aiming to use E&R for investigating the evolution of behavior in Drosophila, we have developed a simple and effective method to assess spontaneous olfactory preferences and learning in large samples of fruit flies using a T-maze.We tested this procedure on (a) a large wild-caught population and (b) 11 isofemale lines of Drosophila melanogaster. Compared to previous methods, this procedure reduces the environmental noise and allows for the analysis of large population samples. Consistent with previous results, we show that flies have a preference for orange vs. apple odor.With our procedure wild-derived flies exhibit olfactory learning in the absence of previous laboratory selection. Furthermore, we find genetic differences in the olfactory learning with relatively high heritability. We propose this largescale method as an effective tool for E&R and genome-wide association studies on olfactory preferences and learning.
Versace, E., & Reisenberger, J. (2015). Large-scale assessment of olfactory preferences and learning in Drosophila melanogaster: Behavioral and genetic components. PeerJ, 2015(9). https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1214