This study investigates developmental and behavioral correlates between larval ethanol exposure and the adult circadian clock in Drosophila melanogaster, a well-established model for studying circadian rhythms and effects of ethanol exposure.
We reared Drosophila larvae on 0%, 10%, or 20% ethanol-supplemented food and assessed effects upon eclosion and the free-running period of the circadian rhythm of locomotor activity.
We observed a dose-dependent effect of ethanol on period, with higher doses resulting in shorter periods. We also identified the third larval instar stage as a critical time for the developmental effects of 10% ethanol on circadian period.
These results demonstrate that developmental ethanol exposure causes sustainable shortening of the adult free-running period in Drosophila melanogaster, even after adult exposure to ethanol is terminated, and suggests that the third instar is a sensitive time for this effect.
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