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Data from: Genetic variation in social environment construction influences the development of aggressive behavior in Drosophila melanogaster

Citation

Saltz, Julia B. (2016), Data from: Genetic variation in social environment construction influences the development of aggressive behavior in Drosophila melanogaster, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.gp3ng

Abstract

Individuals are not merely subject to their social environments; they choose and create them, through a process called social environment (or social niche) construction. When genotypes differ in social environment-constructing behaviors, different genotypes are expected to experience different social environments. As social experience often affects behavioral development, quantitative genetics and psychology theories predict that genetic variation in social environment construction should have an important role in determining phenotypic variation; however, this hypothesis has not been tested directly. I identify multiple mechanisms of social environment construction that differ among natural genotypes of Drosophila melanogaster and investigate their consequences for the development of aggressive behavior. Male genotypes differed in the group sizes that they preferred and in their aggressive behavior; both of these behaviors influenced social experience, demonstrating that these behaviors function as social environment-constructing traits. Further, the effects of social experience—as determined in part by social environment construction—carried over to affect focal male aggression at a later time and with a new opponent. These results provide manipulative experimental support for longstanding hypotheses in psychology, that genetic variation in social environment construction has a causal role in behavioral development. More broadly, these results imply that studies of the genetic basis of complex traits should be expanded to include mechanisms by which genetic variation shapes the environments that individuals experience.

Usage Notes

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1110371