An underlying contributor to many forms of drug addiction are genetic variants responsible for high levels of “novelty-seeking” behavior. This personality trait is associated with dangerous and compulsive behavior, including using drugs of abuse. Identifying the genetic basis for differences in novelty-seeking will give us the necessary insight to understand the underlying neurobiology and may provide us with fresh ideas into why some people are likely to abuse drugs and are also more likely to relapse.
In the lab, DJ Amos works with different species of Drosophila (fruit flies) that differ widely in their novelty-seeking behavior. He has generated a novel genetic mapping population that he is using to identify the genetic variants responsible for differences in this behavioral trait. Amos plans to sequence the genomes of his population using state-of-the-art technology to identify the genes responsible for the differences in this behavior and shed light on the genetic causes for differences in novelty-seeking behavior. Amos presented his findings to the Mississippi Academy of Sciences this past Spring.
Darius (DJ) Amos is pursuing his B.S. in Biology and is actively participating in research yielding important insights into the drug addiction crises in the US.