A quantitative behavioral assay was developed for the measurement of taste responses to sugars in Drosophila. The amount of the intake of a sugar solution was measured colorimetrically after homogenization of flies which had consumed sugar solutions mixed with a food-dye. A two-choice method was utilized to determine the taste sensitivity to sugars. Two kinds of sugar solutions were marked with either blue or red food-dye and placed alternately in the wells of a micro test plate. Flies were allowed to choose between the two sugar solutions. By classifying and counting the coloured flies, the relative taste sensitivity could be determined. Employing these methods, a genetic dimorphism in the taste sensitivity to trehalose was found among some laboratory strains of Drosophila melanogaster. No difference in the taste sensitivity to glucose, fructose and sucrose was found between the trehalose high-sensitivity (T-1) and the low-sensitivity (Oregon-R) strains. Trehalose concentration equivalent to 2 mmol/1 sucrose, in terms of stimulating activity, was 57 mmol/1 in Oregon-R and was 10 mmol/1 in T-1. Genetic analysis showed that the Tre gene, whose locus is closely linked to cx (13.6) on the X chromosome, is responsible for the difference in the taste sensitivity to trehalose.
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