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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mutations in the dopa decarboxylase gene affect learning in Drosophila.

Fruit flies synthesize several monoamine neurotransmitters. Dopa decarboxylase ( Ddc) mutations affect synthesis of two of these, dopamine and serotonin. Both transmitters are implicated in vertebrate and invertebrate learning. Therefore, we bred flies of various Ddc genotypes and tested their learning ability in positively and negatively reinforced learning tasks. Mutations in the Ddc gene diminished learning acquisition approximately in proportion to their effect on enzymatic activity. Courtship and mating sequences of the mutants appeared normal, except for one aspect of male courtship that had previously been shown to be experience dependent. In contrast, the effect on behavior patterns that do not involve learning--phototaxis, geotaxis, olfactory acuity, responsiveness to sucrose--was relatively slight under these conditions. Moderate Ddc mutations affected the acquisition of learned responses while leaving memory retention unaltered. This is in contrast to the mutations dunce , rutabaga , and amnesiac , which primarily affect short-term memory.[1]


  1. Mutations in the dopa decarboxylase gene affect learning in Drosophila. Tempel, B.L., Livingstone, M.S., Quinn, W.G. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1984) [Pubmed]
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