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December 5, 2012

A mammoth feature about fruit flies (1/2)

Wellcome Trust Blog

For more than a hundred years, scientists have used the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) to study the fundamentals of developmental biology and genetics.

But as biological understanding and techniques have improved, we are now able to do sophisticated genetic experiments in animals further along the evolutionary scale, such as mice.

What role, then, for the fly today?

At the entrance to the Fly Facility at the University of Manchester, there is a poster on the wall. It proudly proclaims that Drosophila (a genus of fruit flies) has won six Nobel Prizes. All were won in conjunction with human collaborators, of course, who took the glory (not to mention the cash).

The Fly Facility, which is funded by the university and the Wellcome Trust, brings together the university’s collective expertise in fly husbandry and research techniques. It supports a community of 13 research groups who consider the potential…

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