Hello again, thanks for coming back to round two! I have to say that while the last time I wrote a blog I was sure I was winning, this second time around I think the flies have gotten the best of me… for now ;)
Anyways, time to move on to the really fun stuff--my independent project, which is testing the courtship abilities of male fruit flies under exposure to various drugs. Now, I will admit that this wasn’t my first idea; however, after realizing that there were many complications with using CBD as a drug (the cost, the law, and all those other inconvenient things), I decided that I wanted to study and learn about something we hadn’t really discussed during the first few weeks: courting. Male fruit flies have a courtship dance that is identical to every other male’s. This dance involves moves such as “bumping” the female, “singing” a single-winged song, and physically chasing the female. The male continues to do this in order to gain a positive response, or, more simply put, until she agrees to copulate with the him, or, even more simply put, until the two flies have sex (cue candles and “Careless Whisper” by George Michael).
Thus, after completing some preliminary research, I settled on how I would apply courtship into my remaining two weeks at TRIP: fruit fly breeding. I noticed that between the beginning and [possible] success of a male’s courtship dance, there is an X amount of time. I decided to explore what different drugs affect this amount of time and came up with using caffeine and alcohol, used both separately and together. If there is a known substance that can essentially decrease the amount of time it takes for a male to receive a positive sexual response from a female, this could possibly be applied to scientists who commonly use fruit flies in their research. If the time it took to produce fruit flies could be lessened, then the efficiency of fruit fly breeding increases.
I’m mostly still in the planning stages of this project. There’s going to be a lot of steps for this experiment to be completed right, and I haven’t even begun them! In fact, the other day I sorted my first round of flies into four vials for each condition, but the most challenging thing was actually creating what I’m going to call the “courtship chambers”. There has to be a fairly small space, since I essentially want to force the male to attempt to court the female. This means designing my own chambers for my courtship assay, which has been pretty tough. Turns out cutting glass is harder than it looks, so I’ve decided to try and utilize transparent Legos to build my chambers; however, after a few ideas, I think I’ve figured it out, much to my satisfaction. Below is a video that better explains my various attempts (and, of course, failures!) to create courtship chambers… excuse the poor vlogging skills; my career as a YouTuber has yet to take off, and I’ve been just a bit busy with all these fruit flies.