Choice Behavior of Drosophila Facing Contradictory Visual Cues

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Science  16 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5546, pp. 1543-1547
DOI: 10.1126/science.1058237

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We studied the underlying neural mechanism of a simple choice behavior between competing alternatives in Drosophila. In a flight simulator, individual flies were conditioned to choose one of two flight paths in response to color and shape cues; after the training, they were tested with contradictory cues. Wild-type flies made a discrete choice that switched from one alternative to the other as the relative salience of color and shape cues gradually changed, but this ability was greatly diminished in mutant (mbm1 ) flies with miniature mushroom bodies or with hydroxyurea ablation of mushroom bodies. Thus,Drosophila genetics may be useful for elucidating the neural basis of choice behavior.

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