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PLoS Genet. 2018 Jul 19;14(7):e1007430. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007430. eCollection 2018 Jul.

Drosophila species learn dialects through communal living.

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1
Department of Molecular and Systems Biology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, United States of America.

Abstract

Many species are able to share information about their environment by communicating through auditory, visual, and olfactory cues. In Drosophila melanogaster, exposure to parasitoid wasps leads to a decline in egg laying, and exposed females communicate this threat to naïve flies, which also depress egg laying. We find that species across the genus Drosophila respond to wasps by egg laying reduction, activate cleaved caspase in oocytes, and communicate the presence of wasps to naïve individuals. Communication within a species and between closely related species is efficient, while more distantly related species exhibit partial communication. Remarkably, partial communication between some species is enhanced after a cohabitation period that requires exchange of visual and olfactory signals. This interspecies "dialect learning" requires neuronal cAMP signaling in the mushroom body, suggesting neuronal plasticity facilitates dialect learning and memory. These observations establish Drosophila as genetic models for interspecies social communication and evolution of dialects.

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