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Natural variation at the Drosophila melanogaster Or22 odorant receptor locus is associated with changes in olfactory behaviour


Shaw, KH and Dent, CI and Johnson, TK and Anderson, A and De Bruyne, M and Warr, CG, Natural variation at the Drosophila melanogaster Or22 odorant receptor locus is associated with changes in olfactory behaviour, Open Biology, 11, (9) pp. 1-7. ISSN 2046-2441 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2021 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI: doi:10.1098/rsob.210158


In insects, many critical olfactory behaviours are mediated by the large odorant receptor (Or) gene family, which determines the response properties of different classes of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs). While ORN responses are generally conserved within and between Drosophila species, variant alleles of the D. melanogaster Or22 locus have previously been shown to alter the response profile of an ORN class called ab3A. These alleles show potential clinal variation, suggesting that selection is acting at this locus. Here, we investigated if the changes seen in ab3A responses lead to changes in olfactory-related behaviours. We show that variation at the Or22 locus and in the ab3A neurons are not fully compensated for by other ORNs and lead to overall changes in antennal odorant detection. We further show that this correlates with differences in odorant preference behaviour and with differences in oviposition site preference, with flies that have the chimaeric short allele strongly preferring to oviposit on banana. These findings indicate that variation at the Or22 locus leads to changes in olfactory-driven behaviours, and add support to the idea that the ab3A neurons are of especial importance to the ecology of Drosophila flies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:odorant receptor, Drosophila melanogaster, olfaction, behaviour, natural selection
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Biochemistry and cell biology
Research Field:Cell development, proliferation and death
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Shaw, KH (Dr Katherine Shaw)
ID Code:152733
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2022-08-23
Last Modified:2022-10-03
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