This study, led by Matthieu Cavey in the team of Benjamin Prud’homme, investigates how behavior evolution can lead to the emergence of agricultural pests. Specifically, the insect pest Drosophila suzukii has shifted its oviposition niche from fermented to ripe fruits, causing damage to fruit crops. The study examines the changes in chemosensory perception and determines that sugar plays a significant role in directing D. suzukii‘s oviposition preferences. The genetic manipulation experiments and calcium imaging data suggest that changes in sugar valuation in the central nervous system drive this behavior evolution. This study shows how behavioral changes can impact agriculture.
Increased sugar valuation contributes to the evolutionary shift in egg-laying behavior of the fruit pest Drosophila suzukii.
PLoS Biol. 2023 Dec 11;21(12):e3002432. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3002432.