TitleRegulation of copulation duration by period and timeless in Drosophila melanogaster
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsBeaver, LM, Giebultowicz, J
JournalCurrent Biology
Type of ArticleJournal Article

The circadian clock involves several clock genes encoding interacting transcriptional regulators [1-4]. Mutations in clock genes in Drosophila melanogaster, period (per), timeless (tim), Clock (Clk), and cycle (cyc), produce multiple phenotypes associated with physiology, behavior, development, and morphology [5]. It is not clear whether these genes always work as clock components or may also act in some unknown plelotropic fashion. We report here that per and tim are involved in a novel, male-specific phenotype that affects behavioral timing on the order of minutes. Males lacking per or tim copulate significantly longer than males with normal per or tim function, while females do not show this effect. No correlation between fertility and extended copulation duration was found. Several lines of evidence suggest that the time in copula (TIC) is not regulated by the known clock mechanism. First, the period of free-running clock oscillations does not appear to affect this phenotype. Second, constant light, which abolishes the clock function, does not alter TIC. Finally, mutations in the positively acting clock transcription factors, Clk and cyc, do not affect TIC. Our study extends the repertoire of behavioral functions involving per and tim genes and uncovers another time scale over which these genes may act.

URL<Go to ISI>://WOS:000223586900028