Date of Award

Spring 1999

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 1999 Elisa Nigrini. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Kathleen King Siwicki


Memory of Drosophila olfactory conditioning has been dissected into several functional components including long-term memory, anesthesia sensitive memory, and anesthesia resistant memory. Courtship conditioning, a more complex associative learning paradigm, offers a test of the conservation of these components across tasks. The course of consolidation and decay of long-term memory was characterized in several wildtypes using this paradigm. Long-term memory of courtship experience in Oregon R flies included both anesthesia sensitive and anesthesia resistant components, and it was dependent on protein synthesis. These results are in accordance with olfactory conditioning. Further experiments to dissect components, ideally, would involve genetic mutants with specific molecular interruptions to the proposed learning pathway. However, the mutants' wildtype background strain, Canton S, did not exhibit memory beyond acquisition, precluding these experiments. One memory-deficient mutant, radish, identified in the olfactory conditioning task, had enhanced memory compared with its background strain in the courtship conditioning task. These findings suggest memory processes may not be conserved across learning tasks.