There are many ways to train a fly

Jena L Pitman, Shamik DasGupta, Michael J Krashes, Benjamin Leung, Paola N Perrat, Scott Waddell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2009


  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Conditioning, Psychological
  • Drosophila melanogaster/physiology
  • Female
  • Larva/physiology
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Memory


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