Joshua Wong

Relationship between Bitter Gustation and Mating Status in Drosophila

My project will investigate how mating status (virgin or mated females) affects how Drosophila, commonly known as fruit flies, will intake bitter substances when mixed in solutions with sugar. Because mated females have been shown to intake more nutrients like sugars or amino acids for the purpose of egg production, I want to investigate if mated females will also tolerate more intake of bitter (aversive) compounds that are mixed with sugars. This dynamic is super interesting because fruit flies have two different mechanisms to avoid aversive compounds: one activates bitter gustatory receptors, and the other inhibits sugar consumption. Together, these two processes allow fruit flies to avoid potentially toxic compounds, even in mixed solutions with both appetitive (sugar) and aversive (bitter) compounds. Furthermore, if this is true, then I want to investigate and illustrate the genetic and molecular mechanism that allows this process to occur, which would signify that mated females could be at a higher risk of toxic substance consumption in order to produce eggs and future offspring.

Message to Sponsor

Thank you for funding my project over the summer of 2022. This project is very important to me because it allows me to participate in UC Berkeley's world-renowned research and hopefully influence the world of science. This funding makes my project possible, and I am very grateful.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology/Integrative Biology
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
  • Mentor: Carolina Reisenman