Enzyme reduction explains lazy flies.
Sokolowski and her group had previously determined that this subtle difference in feeding behavior is inherited, and they traced the gene responsible to the fruit fly's chromosome 2. In the Aug. 8 Science, the scientists now identify it as dg2, a gene encoding three similar enzymes belonging to the class known as protein kinases.
The crucial piece of evidence implicating dg2 was the discovery that rovers make slightly more of dg2's enzymes than sitters do, the researchers note. Moreover, a sitter turns into a rover when researchers artificially increase the fly's production of the enzymes.
The enzymes encoded by dg2 seem to help transmit signals inside cells, but little is known about the molecules with which they interact, says study coauthor Ralph J. Greenspan of the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, who has explored how other protein kinases sway behavior. Whether a human counterpart of dg2 subtly regulates people's eating patterns remains an open, and provocative, question, he adds.
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|Title Annotation:||Biology; genetic basis identified for differences in feeding behavior among fruit flies|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Aug 23, 1997|
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