Finalist

A Fruit Fly's Life



Submitted by: Marissa Becker

Program: Chemistry

Division: Engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences

Drosophila melanogaster, also known as the fruit fly, is an extraordinary animal. Despite its remarkably small size and love for garbage, 75% of genes related to diseases have a match in humans. Because of this connection, we can study flies and learn things about ourselves. I specialize in the analysis of fruit fly blood. I collect the blood and use a separation technique called capillary electrophoresis to detect and quantify small molecules. There are multiple methods of collecting the blood from a fly. The most recent method we have tried is by antennae removal. In the image, the antennas of the fly are the black wisps near the upper left. The blue and green regions are dense areas that were tagged with the Hoechst dye. The fruit fly is imperative to science--it has been used for over a century to helping find new disease pathways and ultimately cures. The life of a fruit fly may be disgusting & short but their importance to humans is more than we realize.