Drosophila as a Memory Model
Professor Ron Davis discusses the attributes that make the fruit fly a good model for studying memory in humans.
The fruit fly drosophila is one very excellent model for studying human memory. There are several reasons actually. One is flies are very easy to work with in the laboratory. Second you can very easily show they can learn and remember very simple tasks in the laboratory. So you can manipulate them in terms of their behavior in the laboratory. And third, theyâ€™re excellent in terms of identifying mutants that fail to form memories, or mutants that fail to express memories. And these mutants allow us to define the genes, the genetic building blocks for how memories are formed and expressed and thatâ€™s one of the ultimate goals.
memory, model, systems, fruit, fly, flies, drosophila, ron, davis, gene
Professor Ron Davis discusses exciting future directions in memory research.
Professor Ron Davis discusses how his lab observed that short term memories are formed through the recruitment of new synapses.
Doctor Josh Dubnau explains that model systems are particular species of animals that substitute for humans or other animals. For genetic and historic reasons, the fruit fly is a commonly used model.
The fruit fly is easy to maintain, has large numbers of offspring, and grows quickly. The fruit fly shares with humans a number of so-called “master,” or homeotic, genes.
Professor David Van Vactor discusses the properties that make the fruit fly (drosophila) a powerful model system.
Model organisms such as yeast, bacteria, the mouse and the fruit fly are used by researchers to study biological systems. The genomes of these organisms have been mapped and sequenced.
Professor Ron Davis explains that short-term memories are formed by recruiting new synapses. It is unknown whether long-term memories are formed in the same way.
Many of the genes important for memory in flies are probably also important for memory in other animals, even humans. Doctor Josh Dubnau explains how the T-maze is used to test memory in flies.
Students work through a series of experiments that investigate the use of model organisms in the search for a better understanding of the genes that influence memory formation.
Professor Ron Davis explains that the gene CREB is important to memory. Blocking CREB expression, blocks short-term memory formation.