Fighting Fish Synchronize their moves-and their genes

Faculty in the News: Alison Bell, Professor, Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior

Date

06/17/20
Male Siamese fighting fish must be kept separate or they get into long fights. VALLORIE FRANCIS/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Science (Washington, D.C., June 17) – A new study in fighting fish has demonstrated that as the fish spar, genes in their brains begin to turn on and off in a coordinated way. It’s still unclear what those genes are doing or how they influence the skirmish, but similar changes may be happening in humans. The work is “a really cool example of the way that social interactions can get under the skin,” says Alison Bell, a behavioral ecologist at the U. of I. who was not involved with the study.

This coordinated behavior happens at a molecular level, too, the researchers found.

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