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A favourite colour for each time of the day

The science of innate colour preferences remains controversial in humans and mammals, and it has been limited to binary choice tests in invertebrate models. Now Sheyum Syed and colleagues have developed a multi-colour assay for Drosophila, which reveals that innate colour preferences depend on the time of the day and involve a complex set of neuronal and molecular pathways: (i) Blue avoidance throughout the day is primarily mediated by multidendritic neurons, requires Rhodopsin 7, the Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channel Painless and is independent of the clock; (ii) morning and evening peaks in green preference require rhodopsin-based visual photoreceptors, and are controlled by the circadian clock; (iii) midday reduction in green preference in favour of dim light depends on the TRP channels dTRPA1 and Pyrexia, and is also timed by the clock.

Nature 574, 7776 table of contents

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