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Published June 2009 | public
Journal Article Open

High-throughput ethomics in large groups of Drosophila


We present a camera-based method for automatically quantifying the individual and social behaviors of fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, interacting in a planar arena. Our system includes machine-vision algorithms that accurately track many individuals without swapping identities and classification algorithms that detect behaviors. The data may be represented as an ethogram that plots the time course of behaviors exhibited by each fly or as a vector that concisely captures the statistical properties of all behaviors displayed in a given period. We found that behavioral differences between individuals were consistent over time and were sufficient to accurately predict gender and genotype. In addition, we found that the relative positions of flies during social interactions vary according to gender, genotype and social environment. We expect that our software, which permits high-throughput screening, will complement existing molecular methods available in Drosophila, facilitating new investigations into the genetic and cellular basis of behavior.

Additional Information

© 2009 Nature Publishing Group. Received 01 December 2008. Accepted 08 April 2009. Published 03 May 2009. We thank A. Straw for developing and maintaining the camera interface program, J. Simon for assistance in collecting the data presented in Supplementary Videos 6 and 7, W. Korff for help with high-resolution data acquisition and M. Arbietman (University of Southern California) for the gift of the fruitless fly lines. Funding for this research was provided by US National Institutes of Health grant R01 DA022777 (to M.H.D. and P.P.).

Attached Files

Accepted Version - nihms-109817.pdf

Supplemental Material - nmeth.1328-S1.pdf

Supplemental Material - nmeth.1328-S10.zip

Supplemental Material - nmeth.1328-S2.avi

Supplemental Material - nmeth.1328-S3.avi

Supplemental Material - nmeth.1328-S4.avi

Supplemental Material - nmeth.1328-S5.avi

Supplemental Material - nmeth.1328-S6.avi

Supplemental Material - nmeth.1328-S7.avi

Supplemental Material - nmeth.1328-S8.avi

Supplemental Material - nmeth.1328-S9.zip


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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023