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Nat Rev Genet. 2004 Nov;5(11):838-49.

Quantitative genetic analyses of complex behaviours in Drosophila.

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Department of Zoology, W. M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7617, USA.


Behaviours are exceptionally complex quantitative traits. Sensitivity to environmental variation and genetic background, the presence of sexual dimorphism, and the widespread functional pleiotropy that is inherent in behavioural phenotypes pose daunting challenges for unravelling their underlying genetics. Drosophila melanogaster provides an attractive system for elucidating the unifying principles of the genetic architectures that drive behaviours, as genetically identical individuals can be reared rapidly in controlled environments and extensive publicly accessible genetic resources are available. Recent advances in quantitative genetic and functional genomic approaches now enable the extensive characterization of complex genetic networks that mediate behaviours in this important model organism.

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