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Title: The effect of diet on food preferences and life history traits in Drosophila melanogaster
Author: Young, Sarah Anne
ISNI:       0000 0001 3575 8397
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2007
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Drosophila are capable of learning sensory information about their environment, however, whether they are capable of learning gustatory information about their larval environment and using this information to modify their adult behaviour is as yet unknown. A behavioural assay was therefore designed. Varying the concentration of carbohydrate in the larval diet had varying effects on adult food preference depending on carbohydrate type. When sucrose and glucose concentrations in the larval diet were reduced, adults were more likely to feed on these reduced carbohydrate content media but for sucrose were less likely to lay their eggs on it. When trehalose and fructose concentration in the larval diet was reduced, adults showed no preference for either food medium to feed and lay their eggs on. Reducing the protein concentration in the larval diet led the adults having a preference for the high yeast medium to both feed and lay their eggs on. When sucrose concentration in the larval diet of the learning and memory mutants dunce and rutabaga were varied there was no subsequent affect on adult food preferences. This was also the case when the mushroom bodies (the putative centres for learning and memory in insects) were ablated. The aim of the final chapter of this thesis was to determine the affects of the food types used in the choice experiments on the health of the flies over 5 generations. Diet affected fecundity, development time, survival and larval locomotion. Diet had no effect on starvation resistance. High concentrations of NaCl in the diet reduced larval fitness increasingly over 5 generations and low levels of carbohydrate in the diet increased survival in subsequent generations. These results provide a strong case for the use of Drosophila as a model organism for understanding the developmental origins of health and disease in humans.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available