The fruit fly is easy to maintain, has large numbers of offspring, and grows quickly. The fruit fly shares with humans a number of so-called “master,” or homeotic, genes.
The fruit fly is a small invertebrate. Although it cannot be frozen like bacteria and worms, it is easy to maintain, has large numbers of offspring, and grows quickly – from embryo to adult in 12 days. The fruit fly shares with humans a number of so-called “master,” or homeotic, genes that control development of a complex, symmetrical body plan. Thomas Hunt Morgan and his students at Columbia University identified the first fruit fly mutations in the early 1900s. Since that time, scientists have developed a large library of genetic mutants. It is relatively straightforward to disrupt fruit fly genes and to introduce foreign ones. All of these features make Drosophila a powerful model organism for studying animal development and even elements of behavior – including learning and memory!
fruit fly, drosophila melanogaster, model, systems, organisms, homeotic genes, thomas hunt morgan, mutations