Effect of magnetically simulated zero-gravity and enhanced gravity on the walk of the common fruitfly

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Title: Effect of magnetically simulated zero-gravity and enhanced gravity on the walk of the common fruitfly
Authors: Hill, Richard J.A. | Larkin, Oliver J. | Dijkstra, Camelia E. | Manzano Pérez, Ana Isabel | Juan Navarro, Emilio de | Davey, Michael R. | Anthony, Paul | Eaves, Laurence | Medina Díaz, Francisco Javier | Marco Cuéllar, Roberto | Herranz Barranco, Raúl
Research Group/s: Neurobiología del Sistema Visual y Terapia de Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (NEUROVIS)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Fisiología, Genética y Microbiología
Keywords: Diamagnetic levitation | Microgravity | Drosophila melanogaster | Motility | Diffusion
Knowledge Area: Fisiología
Issue Date: 4-Jan-2012
Publisher: The Royal Society
Citation: Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 2012, 9(72): 1438-1449. doi:10.1098/​rsif.2011.0715
Abstract: Understanding the effects of gravity on biological organisms is vital to the success of future space missions. Previous studies in Earth orbit have shown that the common fruitfly (Drosophila melanogaster) walks more quickly and more frequently in microgravity, compared with its motion on Earth. However, flight preparation procedures and forces endured on launch made it difficult to implement on the Earth's surface a control that exposed flies to the same sequence of major physical and environmental changes. To address the uncertainties concerning these behavioural anomalies, we have studied the walking paths of D. melanogaster in a pseudo-weightless environment (0g*) in our Earth-based laboratory. We used a strong magnetic field, produced by a superconducting solenoid, to induce a diamagnetic force on the flies that balanced the force of gravity. Simultaneously, two other groups of flies were exposed to a pseudo-hypergravity environment (2g*) and a normal gravity environment (1g*) within the spatially varying field. The flies had a larger mean speed in 0g* than in 1g*, and smaller in 2g*. The mean square distance travelled by the flies grew more rapidly with time in 0g* than in 1g*, and slower in 2g*. We observed no other clear effects of the magnetic field, up to 16.5 T, on the walks of the flies. We compare the effect of diamagnetically simulated weightlessness with that of weightlessness in an orbiting spacecraft, and identify the cause of the anomalous behaviour as the altered effective gravity.
Sponsor: This work was supported by grants from the Spanish Science and Innovation Ministry: grant nos. AYA2009-07792-E, ESP2006-13600-C02-01/02a and by a Basic Technology Grant from EPSRC, UK; grant nos. GR/S83005/01 and EP/G037647/1. R.J.A.H. acknowledges EPSRC for support under a Research Fellowship EP/I004599/1 and C-DIP grant EP/J005452/1.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/36161
ISSN: 1742-5689 (Print) | 1742-5662 (Online)
DOI: 10.1098/​rsif.2011.0715
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: This journal is © 2012 The Royal Society. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/​rsif.2011.0715
Appears in Collections:INV - NEUROVIS - Artículos de Revistas

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