e-ISSN : 2347-2677, p-ISSN : 2394-0522
Dr. Sujit Kumar
Drosophila is a genus of small flies, belonging to the family Drosophilidae, whose members are often called “fruit flies”. One species of Drosophila in particular D. melanogaster, has been heavily used in research in genetics and is a common model organism in developmental biology. The entire genus, however, contains about 1,500 species and is very diverse in appearance, behavior, and breeding habitat. Scientists who study Drosophila attribute the species’ diversity to its ability to be competitive in almost every habitat, including deserts. The modern era of Drosophila research really took off when the embryo was analyzed in depth for genes involved in its development . This work launched many fields of developmental biology and led to another Drosophila Nobel Prize . The basic discovery was that discrete genes regulated different aspects of development. Many of these genes turned out to be homologous to those involved in human development and disease. These genes had been conserved over millions of years of evolution and could be studied easily and rapidly in flies. This led to a boom in the field as more and more researchers saw the potential of flies for asking basic and applied questions, and to the development of ever cleverer molecular tools to address these questions. For example, chemical mutagenesis was used for many years to generate new mutations that were screened for interesting phenotypes, followed by careful genetic mapping, a chromosome walk, and finally gene cloning . Currently, the MiMIC transposon system is being applied to target all genes in the Drosophila genome, providing null mutations and a platform to land protein tagging, gene expression tracking.
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