Joshua Wong Rose Hills
Relationship between Bitter Gustation and Mating Status in Drosophila
My project will investigate how mating status (virgin or mated females) affects how Drosophila, commonly known as fruit flies, will intake bitter substances when mixed in solutions with sugar. Because mated females have been shown to intake more nutrients like sugars or amino acids for the purpose of egg production, I want to investigate if mated females will also tolerate more intake of bitter (aversive) compounds that are mixed with sugars. This dynamic is super interesting because fruit flies have two different mechanisms to avoid aversive compounds: one activates bitter gustatory receptors, and the other inhibits sugar consumption. Together, these two processes allow fruit flies to avoid potentially toxic compounds, even in mixed solutions with both appetitive (sugar) and aversive (bitter) compounds. Furthermore, if this is true, then I want to investigate and illustrate the genetic and molecular mechanism that allows this process to occur, which would signify that mated females could be at a higher risk of toxic substance consumption in order to produce eggs and future offspring.