UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Waddell Lab; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience Program

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Behavior, Animal; Conditioning (Psychology); Drosophila melanogaster; Female; Larva; Learning; Male; Memory


Behavioral Neurobiology


A biological understanding of memory remains one of the great quests of neuroscience. For over 30 years the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has primarily been viewed as an excellent vehicle to find 'memory genes'. However, the recent advent of sophisticated genetic tools to manipulate neural activity has meant that these genes can now be viewed within the context of functioning neural circuits. A holistic understanding of memory in flies is therefore now a realistic goal. Larvae and adult flies exhibit remarkable behavioral complexity and they can both be trained in a number of ways. In this review, our intention is to summarize the many assays that have been developed to study plastic behaviors in flies. More specific and detailed reviews have been published by us and others, reviewed in references 1-6. While our bias for olfactory conditioning paradigms is obvious, our purpose here is not to pass judgment on each method. We would rather leave that to those readers who might be inspired to try each assay for themselves.


Drosophila, learning, memory, behavior, plasticity

DOI of Published Version



Fly (Austin). 2009 Jan-Mar;3(1):3-9. Epub 2009 Jan 29. Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title



Co-authors Shamik DasGupta, Michael J. Krashes, and Paola N. Perrat are students in the Neuroscience program in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) at UMass Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID