Investigation of Nicotine’s Effect on Drosophila Melanogaster Motor Function and Aggression
Nicotine, a highly addictive chemical, is a common component of e-cigarette juice. Given e-cigarette popularity among teenagers and young adults, we decided to investigate the link between nicotine and behavior. Our project specifically investigated nicotine’s connection to Drosophila melanogaster (the common fruit fly) motor function and aggression. Previous studies have shown that nicotine results in increased acetylcholine release, which impacts the regulation of motor movement. Nicotine use also stimulates an increase in dopamine and serotonin, both of which are tied to aggressive behavior. We hypothesized that the higher the concentration of nicotine introduced to the D. melanogaster, the more motor function would decrease due to increased levels of acetylcholine. Furthermore, we hypothesized that as nicotine concentration increased, D. melanogaster would exhibit aggressive behavior faster. The results of our study showed a significant decrease in motor function between D. melanogaster controls and those treated with vaping fluid containing 0% and 1.2%. In our aggression assay, we found a significant decrease in the time it took for D. melanogaster exposed to any vaping fluid to display aggressive behavior. Overall, our findings show that exposure to vaping liquid with or without nicotine affects motor function and aggressive behavior in D. melanogaster.