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Elife. 2019 Jul 9;8. pii: e45391. doi: 10.7554/eLife.45391.

Transgeneratonal inheritance of ethanol preference is caused by maternal NPF repression.

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


Rapid or even anticipatory adaptation to environmental conditions can provide a decisive fitness advantage to an organism. The memory of recurring conditions could also benefit future generations; however, neuronally-encoded behavior isn't thought to be inherited across generations. We tested the possibility that environmentally triggered modifications could allow 'memory' of parental experiences to be inherited. In Drosophila melanogaster, exposure to predatory wasps leads to inheritance of a predisposition for ethanol-rich food for five generations. Inhibition of Neuropeptide-F (NPF) activates germline caspases required for transgenerational ethanol preference. Further, inheritance of low NPF expression in specific regions of F1 brains is required for the transmission of this food preference: a maternally derived NPF locus is necessary for this phenomenon, implicating a maternal epigenetic mechanism of NPF-repression. Given the conserved signaling functions of NPF and its mammalian NPY homolog in drug and alcohol disorders, these observations raise the intriguing possibility of NPY-related transgenerational effects in humans.


D. melanogaster; NPF; chromosomes; epigenetic; ethanol; gene expression; neuroscience; parasitoid wasp; transgenerational behavior

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