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Genetics Behind Fruit Fly Courtship

February 15, 2019

College of Science Dean Ginger E. Carney and colleagues published a study in the journal Genetics on microRNAs, which are small molecules that can inhibit the conversion of genetic information into proteins. The team wanted to know how microRNAs affect sex-specific behaviors in male courtship rituals. By eliminating different microRNAs in fruit flies, they identified specific microRNAs that affect male-female and male-male courtship behavior. Manipulating the microRNAs affected the males' neurons, inhibiting their ability to use smell to choose mates.

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at