Editors' ChoiceBehavior

Wakeful Smells in the Morning

Science's STKE  10 Dec 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 162, pp. tw467-TW467
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.162.tw467

It is hard to sleep late when your household is up and about at the crack of dawn. Such social influences are seen in other animals, but how are these signals communicated? Levine et al. have examined mixed Drosophila populations of wild-type (rhythmic) and short-period (arrhythmic) flies and found that arrhythmic flies destabilize the rhythms of wild-type flies. The information seems to be communicated by chemosensory cues: flies that lack the ability to sense chemical signals ignored their neighbors' activity.

J. D. Levine, P. Funes, H. B. Dowse, J. C. Hall, Resetting the circadian clock by social experience in Drosophila melanogaster. Science 298, 2010-2012 (2002). [Abstract] [Full Text]