Science and Technology News

Friday, March 30, 2012

Genetic Patchworks

Each point in these colorful patchworks represents the correlation between two sleep-associated genes in fruit flies (Drosophila). Vibrant reds and oranges represent high and intermediate degrees of association between the genes, respectively. Genes in these areas show similar activity patterns in different fly lines. Cool blues represent gene pairs where one partner's activity is high and the other's is low. The green areas show pairs with activities that are not correlated. These quilt-like depictions help illustrate a recent finding that genes act in teams to influence sleep patterns.

The research was performed by Trudy Mackay, a geneticist at North Carolina State University who is studying the sleep patterns of fruit flies, and Susan Harbison, a postdoc in Mackay's lab. To learn more about this research, see the National Institutes of Health news release, Gene Teams Help Govern Sleep Patterns. (Date of Image: 2009)

Credit: Trudy Mackay, Department of Genetics, North Carolina State University. Harbison, S. T., Carbone, M. A., Ayroles, J. F., Stone, E. A., Lyman, R. F. & Mackay, T. F. C. 2009. Co-regulated transcriptional networks contribute to natural genetic variation in Drosophila sleep. Nat. Genet. 41: 371-375. PMCID: PMC2683981.

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