Stories tagged drosophila


Fruit flies never get the credit they deserve! Gov. Palin just dissed them in a recent speech advocating for special needs children. While discussing where $ would come from to fund more programs for these children she said,

"Sometimes these dollars, they go to projects having little or nothing to do with the public good, things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not."

Funny thing is that fruit flies tell us quite a bit about human development and disease. They are a model organism often used in genetic research.

So next time you see a fruit fly, thank them. And the next time you see a politician educate them about how scientific research is done!

For a great summary on this topic, check out the NewsBlog at The Scientist.


Fruit Fly - Drosophilidae: Drosophila melanogaster Photo by André Karwath

Human and mouse cells are continuously replenished with stem cells, and when they are not regulated correctly, common digestive diseases and cancer can occur. Insects had not been investigated until recently when adult fruit flies (Drosophila) were found to have the same stem cells controlling cell regulation in their gut as humans. This is reported by Benjamin Ohlstein and Allan Spradling at The Carnegie Institution of Washington, Maryland. The similarity in intestinal stem cells of the fruit fly includes their being multipotent, which means that the stem cells can turn into different cell types in both insects and humans. This research helps in developing cures for digestive disorders including some cancers, and indicates that insects and humans were derived from the same evolutionary pathway more than 500 million year ago.