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The structure of behavioral variation within a genotype

Werkhoven, Zach and Bravin, Alyssa and Skutt-Kakaria, Kyobi and Reimers, Pablo and Pallares, Luisa and Ayroles, Julien and de Bivort, Benjamin (2019) The structure of behavioral variation within a genotype. . (Unpublished)

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Individual animals vary in their behaviors. This is true even when they share the same genotype and were reared in the same environment. Clusters of covarying behaviors constitute behavioral syndromes, and an individual's position along such axes of covariation is a representation of their personality. Despite these conceptual frameworks, the structure of behavioral covariation within a genotype is essentially uncharacterized and its mechanistic origins unknown. Passing hundreds of isogenic Drosophila individuals through an experimental pipeline that captured hundreds of behavioral measures, we found correlations only between sparse pairs of behaviors. Thus, the space of behavioral variation has many independent dimensions. Manipulating the physiology of the brain, and specific neural populations, altered specific correlations. We also observed that variation in gene expression can predict an individual's position on some behavior axes. This work represents the first steps in understanding the biological mechanisms determining the structure of behavioral variation within a genotype.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper Paper ItemData ItemCode
Werkhoven, Zach0000-0003-0611-5864
Skutt-Kakaria, Kyobi0000-0002-7826-6736
Reimers, Pablo0000-0003-0547-1349
Pallares, Luisa0000-0001-6547-1901
Ayroles, Julien0000-0001-8729-0511
de Bivort, Benjamin0000-0001-6165-7696
Additional Information:The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY 4.0 International license. bioRxiv preprint first posted online Sep. 23, 2019. We thank Ed Soucy, Brett Graham, Adam Bercu and Joel Greenwood of Harvard’s CBS Neuroengineering core for help fabricating our instruments. Julie Peng helped with the genomic experiments. Gordon Berman was generous in consulting on the analysis and sharing data. Joshua Shaevitz kindly shared code and expertise for the unsupervised analysis imaging rig. Tanya Wolff and Gerry Rubin kindly shared most of the Gal4 lines from the circuit screen. James Crall and Jennifer Erickson provided helpful feedback on the manuscript. ZW and KSK were supported by NSF Graduate Research Fellowships DGE-1144152 and #2013170544; JFA was supported by the NIH under grant no. GM124881. BdB was supported by a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Award, a Smith Family Odyssey Award, a Harvard/MIT Basic Neuroscience Grant, the NSF under grant no. IOS-1557913, and the NIH under grant no. MH119092. Conflict: BdB is a scientific advisor of FlySorter, LLC of Seattle, WA.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1144152
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship2013170544
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Klingenstein-Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Smith Family Odyssey AwardUNSPECIFIED
Harvard UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:high-throughput behavior, individuality, personality, covariation, neural circuits, isogenic animals, Drosophila melanogaster
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190923-110251459
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Official Citation:The structure of behavioral variation within a genotype. Zachary Werkhoven, Alyssa Bravin, Kyobi Skutt-Kakaria, Pablo Reimers, Luisa F Pallares, Julien Ayroles, Benjamin L de Bivort. bioRxiv 779363; doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:98799
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:23 Sep 2019 21:07
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 21:44

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