Collective behavior emerges from genetically controlled simple behavioral motifs in zebrafish [article]

Ariel Cacayuran Aspiras, Roy Harpaz, Sydney Chambule, Sierra Tseng, Florian Engert, Mark C Fishman, Armin Bahl
2021 bioRxiv   pre-print
Since Darwin, coordinated movement of animal groups has been believed to be essential to species survival, but it is not understood how changes in the genetic makeup of individuals might alter behavior of the collective. Here we find that even at the early larval stage, zebrafish regulate their proximity and alignment with each other. Two simple visual responses, one that measures relative visual field occupancy and the other global visual motion, suffice to account for the group behavior that
more » ... merges. We analyze how mutations in genes known to affect social behavior of humans perturb these simple reflexes in larval zebrafish and thereby affect their collective behaviors. We use model simulations to show that changes in reflexive responses of individual mutant animals predict well the distinctive collective patterns that emerge in a group. Hence group behaviors reflect in part genetically defined primitive sensorimotor "motifs", which are evident even in young larvae.
doi:10.1101/2021.03.03.433803 fatcat:i6sisqr2rzajvc2vzlejoyntpm