Psychology Benefits From Study of Insect Aggression
Researchers at the University of Montana are taking a novel approach to studying neurological disorders. They placed two male fruit flies in a cage together, provide them with one prize, and watch them duke it out. How is this supposed to reveal insights into neurological disorders you ask? The researchers are genetically modifying the flies’ neurons in an effort to understand which neurons increase aggressive behavior. They test out various genes to see how they affect the fly’s aggression in the arena. Sometimes the prize is a female fruit fly, which the males must fight over. They have already been able to identify a number of neurons that link aggression with outside information. This research could be adapted to benefit humans due to the similarity in how the brain functions in all organisms. The researchers are hoping that their results could help treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
What do you think of this possibly groundbreaking study? Do you think it could be used to help humans with neurological disorders?