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Fly (Austin). 2010 Jul-Sep;4(3):216-25. doi: 10.4161/fly.4.3.12280. Epub 2010 Jul 1.

An assay for social interaction in Drosophila fragile X mutants.

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Watson School of Biological Sciences, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA.


We developed a novel assay to examine social interactions in Drosophila and, as a first attempt, apply it here at examining the behavior of Drosophila Fragile X Mental Retardation gene (dfmr1) mutants. Fragile X syndrome is the most common cause of single gene intellectual disability (ID) and is frequently associated with autism. Our results suggest that dfmr1 mutants are less active than wild-type flies and interact with each other less often. In addition, mutants for one allele of dfmr1, dfmr1(B55), are more likely to come in close contact with a wild-type fly than another dfmr1(B55) mutant. Our results raise the possibility of defective social expression with preserved receptive abilities. We further suggest that the assay may be applied in a general strategy of examining endophenoypes of complex human neurological disorders in Drosophila, and specifically in order to understand the genetic basis of social interaction defects linked with ID.

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