College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Drosophila melanogaster (Fruit Fly)
Scientific Name: Drosophila melanogaster
- One of the most commonly studied organisms in biological research due to the ease of care, short generation time, and prolific reproduction.
- First organism in which genes and sex chromosomes were discovered.
- Almost 75% of known human disease genes have a similar counterpart in fruit flies, making them a valuable model for studying human diseases and disorders including diabetes, cancer, and the process of aging.
- Important models for learning how genes and the environment interact to affect behavior.
- A large amount of information exists regarding related species of Drosophila making this species useful for evolutionary studies.
Which UI Department of Biology researchers study this organism:
Why UI Department of Biology researchers use this organism:
- Study connections between the nervous system and certain behaviors including those that are controlled by the circadian clock. The clock regulates sleep/wake cycles in many organisms, including humans, and when disrupted impacts sleep quality and mental disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.
- Better understand how organisms detect sound, and how they use the information from sounds to direct their behavior.
- Study a specific form of epilepsy in order to understand the genetic basis of the disease in addition to developing novel drug therapies.
- Study the differences in DNA sequences between organisms that help us to understand the origin and relatedness of different species.