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A Temperature Gradient Assay to Determine Thermal Preferences of Drosophila Larvae.

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Many animals, including the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, are capable of discriminating minute differences in environmental temperature, which enables them to seek out their preferred thermal landscape. To define the temperature preferences of larvae over a defined linear range, we developed an assay using a temperature gradient. To establish a single-directional gradient, two aluminum blocks are connected to independent water baths, each of which controls the temperature of individual blocks. The two blocks set the lower and upper limits of the gradient. The temperature gradient is established by placing an agarose-coated aluminum plate over the two water-controlled blocks so that the plate spans the distance between them. The ends of the aluminum plate that is set on the top of the water blocks defines the minimum and maximum temperatures, and the regions in-between the two blocks form a linear temperature gradient. The gradient assay can be applied to larvae of different ages and can be used to identify mutants that exhibit phenotypes, such as those with mutations affecting genes encoding TRP channels and opsins, which are required for temperature discrimination.

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