Sunday, October 12, 2008

Peer Pressure

According to studies humans aren't the only ones that feel the affects of peer pressure. Researchers found out that depending on the crowd a certain species of fruit fly finds itself in will affect the fly's neural and non-neural tissues. This results in changes in the flies' gene expression, physiology, and sexual behavior, which are all inter-related. More specifically fruit flies have cells called oenocytes that releases different pheromones in different groups. For example fruit flies in mixed groups of different fruit flies will release different pheromones than fruit flies that are in groups of the same species. The composition of their pheromones depend on the composition of the pheromones produced by neighboring flies in its group. This shows how "fickle" chemical communication is. Due to these differences in pheromones, flies in mixed groups have more sex than flies in groups of the same species. This challenges how we view the relationship between behavior and the mechanisms that control it because according to this experiment chemical display is controlled by the individual's environment instead of it's genotype.


Lysander Ning

15 Comments:

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting, so are the fruit flies that travel in mixed groups more reproductively successful than those in same-species groups? And are the flies in mixed groups mating with flies of different species?

-Jane de Verges

 
At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting article. I am curious if humans would have a similar change in gene expression due to peer pressure or if their changes were entirely social. I wish you had put down the link to the article this came from. Anything else relating to peer pressure studies would have been interesting to compare to.

-Alex Jackson

 
At 6:14 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Interesting idea did the male and female flies show the same change in personality? Do you think that it is entirely based on the flies environment or do you also think that genotype plays a part in how the flies reacted.

Posted by: Lindsay Goodyear (4)

 
At 7:27 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Very interesting article. These findings remind me of what we discussed concerning how hormones affect the social development of rat embryos while they are in the uterus. It's interesting to see how much one's surroundings can play a role in development. It'd be nice to see similar research in other species.

-Benjamin Spozio

 
At 8:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats pretty interesting. I wonder if there is other research about chemical expression in other species, maybe other animals also feel "peer pressure"? Do they always do exactly what other tell them to do? It would be interesting to find out how these animals actually decide whether to follow a social pattern or not.

-Brena Sena

 
At 8:34 PM, Blogger Dan said...

It's interesting to think that the environment can change a flies gene expression, physiology, etc. I'm curious though, what are some of the other changes other than releasing different pheromones?

~Dan Hong

 
At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was an interesting entry. I was wondering how did the environment change for the male fruit flies that were the same species as the females in the group? Did their behavior change with the different species of flies present?

- Debbie Theodat

 
At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also wonder how much of our behavior is some kind of a reaction to a chemical odor or some other simple environmental component. It just seems strange that these complex behaviors can be traced backed to such a simple process like smelling something.


Allan Eldridge

 
At 11:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very interesting to read because I would think that peer pressure is more of a human social behavior or at least higher level organisms but it seems that fruit flies show a lot more similarities to human beings than we would think. I wonder though what kind of pressure a fruit fly would feel...

-Alicia Stein

 
At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just thought I should let you know there is another article that was done in September that is very similar to yours. The article’s title is “Ever think of a fruit fly hanging out at the bar trying to “pick up” another fly?” and the student’s name is Katie Cole. Maybe I’m thinking too much into it but I just thought I should let you know. I do really like the topic. I was just thinking that the reason the group of flies that are in the “mixed group” are having more sex maybe because of the fact that the flies feel the need to have more sex so that there is more chance of their own gene being passed on.

-Tenzing Y. Dundutsang

 
At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the some of the specific differences in gene expression and physiology between fruit flies in mixed groups and fruit flies in groups of the same species?

Tazneena Ishaque

 
At 11:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(In continuation to my previous comment)Other than the examples you've already mentioned.

Tazneena Ishaque

 
At 12:45 AM, Blogger PWH said...

Don't most social species have some sort of peer pressure effects? I'm suprised to see that something as small and basic as a fruit fly has social behaviors. What determines whether a fly is a part of a mixed group?.

Patrick Salome

 
At 8:05 AM, Blogger PWH said...

Just looking at the fruit flies is hard to figure it out how do they move or think. They look so simple. However, this article made me to change idea of the fruit flies. The fruit files have similar function as human. It was very interesting article and useful information for me.

So Jin Lee

 
At 1:51 AM, Blogger PWH said...

From what I have read it seems flies mate with other species of fruit flies. This would probably cause more genes to be transferred around between the different species of fruit flies.

lysander

 

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