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Student Summer undergraduate Research Fellowship (SSuRF)
Jamie Gross 

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Genetic control of circadian rhythms on anxiety-like behavior in Drosophila: How specific genes controlling circadian rhythm (time, per and click) contribute to anxiety-like behavior in Drosophila  

Circadian rhythms control many cyclic processes in the body. Altering environmental cues that are responsible for regulating circadian rhythms can cause asynchronicity in your internal biological clock. The SCN in mammals is responsible for regulating circadian rhythms, and a small collection of neurons in the brain of fruit flies is responsible for regulating their circadian rhythms. Many circadian synchronicity-regulating pathways overlap with pathways that control anxiety-like behaviors. Anxiety-like behavior in fruit flies can be measured by observing wall following (WAFO) behavior. This study aims to determine how specific genes controlling circadian rhythms contribute to anxiety-like behavior in fruit flies. 3 mutant fly strains will be entrained to 12:12 light/dark condition for one week, and then their WAFO behavior will be recorded for 10 minutes. Each recording will be scored and analyzed to determine how much time each mutant fly spends in the WAFO zone, representing anxiety-like behavior. Anxiety behavior among our population has been increasing and a potential reason for this could be an alteration in circadian rhythm caused by prolonged light exposure from electronic devices. A goal of this study is to solidify the relationship between circadian rhythms and anxiety-like behavior to try and determine if electronic devices could be contributing to this spike in anxiety within the human population.

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