Bys219l spring 2010
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BYS219L – Spring 2010. Introduction to Drosophila melanogaster. Model organisms. Easy experimentation Many similarities to humans Well-understood. See inside cover of textbook (Griffiths). Drosophila melanogaster , the fruitfly. Kingdom: animalia Class: insecta Diet: Rotting fruit

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Bys219l spring 2010

BYS219L – Spring 2010

Introduction to Drosophila melanogaster

Model organisms
Model organisms

  • Easy experimentation

  • Many similarities to humans

  • Well-understood

See inside cover of textbook (Griffiths)

Drosophila melanogaster the fruitfly
Drosophila melanogaster, the fruitfly

Kingdom: animalia

Class: insecta

Diet: Rotting fruit

Size: 0.5mm

See textbook (Griffiths 9th edition) pages 770-771 (Appendix A)

The fly room
The “Fly Room”

Columbia University, New York, 1919

Thomas Hunt Morgan

Worked out mechanisms of inheritance

Why use fruitflies
Why use fruitflies?

  • Easy to handle (small, harmless)

  • Fast generation time (10 days egg to adult)

  • Genome sequenced

  • 75% of human disease genes have a match in the Drosophila genome

  • Sexual Reproduction

Microscopic genetic analysis
Microscopic/Genetic Analysis

A confocal micrograph of several segments of the Drosophila embryonic Central Nervous System showing a subset of interneurons (green) with axon projections crossing the CNS midline. The entire axon scaffold is shown in red. (

Bonini et al., 2009 (Nature)

Top row: external view, depigmentation

Bottom row: retinal cryosections

Mutant drosophila
Mutant Drosophila

Antennae  Legs


Drosophila life cycle
Drosophila life cycle

1 Day as egg

7 Days as larva

2 Days as pupa

10 days total from egg to sexual maturity.

Life cycle photographic view
Life Cycle: Photographic View

Graphic: Whitington lab, University of Melbourne

Sexual dimorphism
Sexual Dimorphism


Larger, no dark pigmentation, no sex combs

Exploratorium Microscope Imaging Station

Sex combs on males
Sex Combs (on males)

This is the most accurate marker for identifying male/female drosophila

Edwards Lab, UIllinois