Color Perception in Drosophila Melanogaster

by Serena Geisinger, Carl Krambeck, Allison Peyton, and Molly Urness
Faculty advisor: Dr. James Hampton

Drosophila melanogaster’s ability to perceive and differentiate color has been studied. The flies were introduced into a maze that branched into red, blue, green, and yellow colored arms. Each arm then divided into a second selection of red, blue, green, and yellow. By forcing the flies to make subsequent choices, the test ensures it is studying the flies’ actual preferences. The maze incorporated funnels to make certain the flies could not recede into the body of the maze once they made a choice. After giving the flies time to move through the arms of the maze, they were scored according to their color choices. Our results support our hypothesis that D. melanogaster has color perception abilities, but a confirmed result cannot yet be made. Various eye mutants in Drosophila were tested to determine if color preference is based on eye shape or color. In a second part of this experiment, flies that made the same color choice will be bred together in an effort to select for a genetic predisposition for a particular color preference. Successive generations will then be tested to determine if color differentiation is hereditary.