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19.1.11: Drosophila Melanogaster

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    Figure Stages of Drosophila

    Some of the reasons for its popularity:

    • The flies are small and easily reared in the laboratory.
    • They have a short life cycle The figure shows the various stages of the life cycle (not all drawn to the same scale). A new generation of adult flies can be produced every two weeks.
    • They are fecund; a female may lay hundreds of fertilized eggs during her brief life span. The resulting large populations make statistical analysis easy and reliable.
    • The giant ("polytene") chromosomes in the salivary (and other) glands of the mature larvae.
      • These chromosomes show far more structural detail than do normal chromosomes
      • They are present during interphase when chromosomes are normally invisible.
    • More recently, Drosophila has proven in other ways to have been a happy choice.
      • Its embryo grows outside the body and can easily be studied at every stage of development.
      • The blastoderm stage of the embryo is a syncytium (thousands of nuclei unconfined by cells) so that, for example, macromolecules like DNA injected into the embryo have easy access to all the nuclei.
      • The genome is relatively small for an animal (less than a tenth that of humans and mice).
      • Mutations can targeted to specific genes.

    This page titled 19.1.11: Drosophila Melanogaster is shared under a CC BY 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by John W. Kimball via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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