Drosophila is able to taste a remarkable diversity of organic molecules.  We discovered a family of 60 seven-transmembrane-domain genes, the Gr (Gustatory receptor) genes, and showed that they encoded taste receptors.  We are now studying how the receptors, neurons and circuits of the taste system allow the animal to make feeding decisions and oviposition decisions.  We also study how the taste system evolves:  when a species adapts to a new environment, its taste system must adapt to detect new toxins and exploit new resources.

Responses of taste neurons to tastants

Feeding Assay


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Delventhal, R. and Carlson, J. R.  (2016) Functions of Drosophila bitter taste receptors in different neuronal contexts, eLife 2016;5:e11181.

Weiss, L., Dahanukar, A., Kwon, J.Y., Banerjee, D. and J. R. Carlson (2011).  The molecular and cellular basis of bitter taste in Drosophila.  Neuron  69, 258-272.