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Publication : High-resolution positional tracking for long-term analysis of Drosophila sleep and locomotion using the "tracker"program.

First Author  Donelson Nathan C Year  2012
Journal  PLoS ONE Volume  7
Pages  e37250 PubMed ID  22615954
Abstract Text  Drosophila melanogaster has been used for decades in the study of circadian behavior, and more recently has become a popular model for the study of sleep. The classic method for monitoring fly activity involves counting the number of infrared beam crosses in individual small glass tubes. Incident recording methods such as this can measure gross locomotor activity, but they are unable to provide details about where the fly is located in space and do not detect small movements (i.e. anything less than half the enclosure size), which could lead to an overestimation of sleep and an inaccurate report of the behavior of the fly. This is especially problematic if the fly is awake, but is not moving distances that span the enclosure. Similarly, locomotor deficiencies could be incorrectly classified as sleep phenotypes. To address these issues, we have developed a locomotor tracking technique (the "Tracker"program) that records the exact location of a fly in real time. This allows for the detection of very small movements at any location within the tube. In addition to circadian locomotor activity, we are able to collect other information, such as distance, speed, food proximity, place preference, and multiple additional parameters that relate to sleep structure. Direct comparisons of incident recording and our motion tracking application using wild type and locomotor-deficient (CASK-β null) flies show that the increased temporal resolution in the data from the Tracker program can greatly affect the interpretation of the state of the fly. This is especially evident when a particular condition or genotype has strong effects on the behavior, and can provide a wealth of information previously unavailable to the investigator. The interaction of sleep with other behaviors can also be assessed directly in many cases with this method. Doi  10.1371/journal.pone.0037250
Issue  5

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