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The Lie: Evolution
 

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Thank God for Flies

Compiled by Karl C. Priest 3-5-2014 (revised 5-25-17)

[This page is a subsection of "Thank God for Insects".]

Note: There is likely an abundance of examples of amazing flies of which I am unaware.

There are several examples in my article "Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation" and some may be duplicated in that article and this one. (Please let me know of any duplicates below.)

FLIES IN THE EYE OF EVOLUTIONISM OR FLIES SPOIL EVOS’ OINTMENT
(Flies are mentioned in some clips along with other insects at "Thank god for Insects". Those are not in this section.)

There is an accurate analogy between the real science of fly insect and the abracadabra alchemy of evolutionism. “A fly in the ointment” is a King James Bible derived expression refers to “a small, unpleasant matter that spoils something” or “a drawback.” Regarding evolutionism, the original Bible verse is much more accurate. “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary (drugstore) to send forth a stinking savour (smell).” (Ecclesiastes 10:1a KJB) The ointment in this article is that used by evolutionists to attempt to cover the wound of their dogma. Evolutionists have set up a drugstore with lots of sweets and a good supply of narcotics, but it all stinks thanks to the forsaken fly. Following are some headlines from just one fly. Scan this webpage for “fly” and see what catches your eye.

Other Bible references to flies are altogether appropriate. “Let my people go, that they may serve me.” (Exodus 8:20b KJB) “Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.” (Exodus 8:21 KJB) “And the LORD did so. (Exodus 8:24a KJB) He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them.” (Psalm 78:45a KJB)

Below are examples of shy we should thank God for flies. Fruit flies have their own section and the categories are arbitrary. In each section items are not arranged by date. Newest (after the date of the original post of this “article”) are at the top. Some may sound similar, but all are of different years (to the best of my knowledge). The dates of most can be determined by looking at the URL.

MISCELLANEOUS FLIES

This fly's incredible hearing is a curiosity to those developing better hearing aids

Ormia ochracea 's sense of directional hearing is second to none in the animal kingdom…."These flies have highly specialized ears that provide the most acute directional hearing of any animal," says Andrew Mason, a professor of biology at U of T Scarborough. "The mechanism that makes their hearing so exceptional has even led to a range of bio-inspired technology, like the mini directional microphones used in hearing aids."… While that is pretty extraordinary in itself, what makes the fly truly remarkable is its mechanically-coupled ears. Unlike most animals that have two separate ears, both of Ormia's eardrums are connected together…"It's interesting that something so small can be sensitive to the direction of sound," says Mason. "They're tiny relative to the wavelength of sound they're able to localize, so they shouldn't be able to do what they do but they can because of the mechanical coupling." Engineers are interested in using the same principle found in Ormia's coupled eardrums to develop artificial sensors. These sensors could better locate signals for a range of uses where the size of the object relative to the signal might be a limiting factor -- from hearing aids, to gunshot detectors, to different types of radar.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170515111136.htm


Jaw-Dropping Vision Helps Tiny Flies Snag Prey in Under a Second

The researchers say their findings could have technological applications, particularly in the development of flying drones. "The problem with drones is often one of the battery power necessary for accurate image processing," Gonzalez-Bellido said in a statement. "The processing power is a huge drain on resources. But as is often the case, we can take lessons from the natural world to minimize the power requirements. This, combined with the robber fly's remarkable hunting ability, could help in the design of drones designed to take down illegal drones near airports, for example."
http://www.livescience.com/58192-amazing-vision-helps-tiny-flies-snag-prey.html

Housefly's love of manure could lead to sustainable feed

An interdisciplinary team of Cornell researchers in animal science, entomology, nutritional sciences, business, microbiology and immunology is investigating a system for using housefly larvae to biodegrade manure and harvest the larvae for use as protein-rich animal feed. Their research is published in the Feb. 7 issue of the journal PLOS One. Larva meal could address a pressing need to replace fishmeal in aquaculture. The massive demand for fishmeal to feed all kinds of livestock has led to overfishing of fish stocks worldwide. Larva feed is proving to be a sustainable alternative; it contains the right nutritional ingredients for feeding fish, poultry and other livestock. "I think feed from insects is the future of animal farming,"
https://phys.org/news/2017-03-housefly-manure-sustainable.html

Developing knowledge of blowfly life cycles to improve accuracy of estimating post-mortem interval

Post-mortems are an essential part of the investigative process after someone has died in suspicious circumstances, usually performed to establish cause of death. Definitively proving time of death later is extremely difficult. By using blowflies and sometimes other insects, forensic entomologists can provide an estimated window of time in which someone is likely to have died.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170214094044.htm

How insects decide to grow up

Like humans, insects go through puberty…But, it has been a long-standing mystery as to what internal mechanisms control how insects go through metamorphosis and why it is irreversible…Using the model organism fruit flies, the researchers found that the amount of DNA in the fruit fly controls the initial production of steroid hormones, which signal the start of metamorphosis…In the long term, the findings could also be used to develop better ways to treat diseases in humans related to sexual maturation, since human puberty is also controlled by steroid hormones, just like insects. The results may also aide future studies on steroid-related diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and menopause-related symptoms.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170126132550.htm

Why 'platonic' flies don't copulate and what that could mean for humans

The researchers conclude that there are interesting parallels between humans and flies in the way they both require BMP signaling for tissue development and serotonin to regulate sexual activity. They believe that their study can provide insights into the (evolutionism tripe deleted) mechanism for courtship and copulation, and possibly lead to the development of new, more effective drugs.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170117140043.htm

Modified maggots could help human wound healing

Sterile, lab-raised green bottle fly larvae are used for maggot debridement therapy (MDT), in which maggots are applied to non-healing wounds, especially diabetic foot ulcers, to promote healing. Maggots clean the wound, remove dead tissue and secrete anti-microbial factors. The treatment is cost-effective and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160323185649.htm

Inspired by compound eyes of common fly, team determines how to make miniature omnidirectional sources of light

In our vain human struggle to kill flies, our hands and swatters often come up lacking. This is due to no fault of our own, but rather to flies' compound eyes. Arranged in a hexagonal, convex pattern, compound eyes consist of hundreds of optical units called ommatidia, which together bestow upon flies a nearly 360-degree field of vision… "We were inspired by those eyes," said Raúl J. Martín-Palma, an adjunct professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. "We said, 'OK, we can make something artificial using the same replicating structure to emit light  in all directions, rather than what we have now, which is just planar, light-emitting diodes.'" Martín-Palma has been involved in work with 'bioinspiration,' in which ideas and concepts from nature are implemented in different fields of science and engineering, for the past seven years… Future work also includes fabricating a light-emitting diode in the shape of a compound eye, and ultimately creating omni-directional light detectors. (9-9-14)
http://phys.org/news/2014-09-compound-eyes-common-team-miniature.html

Fly genome could help improve health, environment

The house fly might be a worldwide pest, but its genome will provide information that could improve our lives. From insights into pathogen immunity, to pest control and decomposing waste, the 691 Mb genome has been sequenced and analyzed by a global consortium of scientists, and is published in the open access journal   Genome Biology.

The genome highlights detoxification and immune system genes that are unique to the insect, and could be subjects of further study to help humans deal with toxic and disease causing environments… Because the house fly is so intimately involved in human processes, the researchers say sequencing its genome will have implications for human health, identifying the genes that allow the flies to live in toxic environments. The lead author of the paper Jeff Scott, Cornell University, says: "House flies are a fascinating insect for scientists in many areas, such as developmental biology, sex determination, immunity, toxicology and physiology. The completed genome will be a phenomenal tool for researchers in all of these fields and will facilitate rapid advancements".. Understanding how this fly is immune to the human diseases it carries could help scientists to create treatments or vaccines for these diseases.

The fly genome also contained unique detoxification genes, which produce proteins that help the fly break down waste. Information about these genes could help us to handle human waste and improve the environment. (10-14-14) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141014085142.htm

Controlling free flight of a robotic fly using an onboard vision sensor inspired by insect ocelli

Scaling a flying robot down to the size of a fly or bee requires advances in manufacturing, sensing and control, and will provide insights into mechanisms used by their biological counterparts. Controlled flight at this scale has previously required external cameras to provide the feedback to regulate the continuous corrective manoeuvres necessary to keep the unstable robot from tumbling. One stabilization mechanism used by flying insects may be to sense the horizon or Sun using the ocelli, a set of three light sensors distinct from the compound eyes. Here, we present an ocelli-inspired visual sensor and use it to stabilize a fly-sized robot.
http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/11/97/20140281.abstract#

Fly's Rapid Fluttering Could Inspire Mini Drones

A new video captures the lightning-fast fluttering of blowfly wings in intricate detail. The 3D, real-time video of insect flight   could be used to design tiny, flying robots, or to create mini sensors for many applications…The new findings could be used as inspiration to design tiny flying drones with more precise steering. Instead of relying on rigid materials and traditional engineering structures such as gears, such flying machines could use flexible materials, similar to an insect's exoskeleton, said study co-author Simon Walker, a biomechanist who is also at the University of Oxford. The same principles could be used for other sensors that require precise, rapid 3D movements on a small scale…
http://www.livescience.com/44361-video-blowfly-flying-motion.html

Moonwalker flies backing up

Insights into the neural basis of insect walking could also generate applications in the field of robotics. To date, none of the engineered robots that are used for rescue or exploration missions can walk as robustly as animals. Understanding how insects change their walking direction at a neuronal level would reveal the mechanistic basis of achieving such robust walking behavior. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140403141833.htm

Fly-by-Sight Microrobots

The fly's eye is one of the most well-organized units of visual optics in the world. But is it possible to understand how it works and reproduce it on board neuromimetic robots that could navigate in complete safety?
You listen to him (the director of the biorobotics department) enthusing about the amazing behavior of these “agile airships” that he's been studying for over thirty years and that today enable him to design “artificial flying creatures.” These are so efficient, that they make planes and helicopters pale with envy. You just can't help looking out to marvel at the arabesques of these insects buzzing past at high speeds without ever crashing. But what's so special about the fly's eyes, that have made these insects champion stunt fliers for over 100 million years?...the fly's “cockpit” contains about 1 million neurons powered by electric signals from the 48,000 photoreceptor cells that make up the mosaic of the retina. The neuron network  processes these signals and sends the “electric flight controls” to 18 pairs of motor muscles that adjust the amplitude, frequency, and angle of attack of the wings in real time...Having deciphered how the movement-detecting neurons work, using microelectrodes and special microscopes, the team in Marseille managed to transcribe the main functions into miniature optoelectronic circuits…”
http://www2.cnrs.fr/en/582.htm

Fly's-eye view shines a light on disease

An ultra-cheap optical system based on a fly's eye is being developed to allow weak laser light to be used for medical imaging…If successful, the technique could be an alternative to expensive procedures such as MRI or potentially damaging X-ray mammography, allowing investigations to be carried out more often.
http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/12007374/flys-eye-view-shines-light-disease

Fly Eyes Inspire Better Video Cameras, Motion Detection  

That pesky fly's eyes hold an important blueprint for creating better video cameras, military target-detection systems, and surveillance equipment, Australian researchers say.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/pf/38225200.html

"Essence of Maggot" Ointment to Heal Wounds Faster?

Today hospitals around the world breed selected fly larvae in sterile environments. These "medical maggots" are applied directly to wounds such as ulcers and burns, which are otherwise difficult to heal. "Now that we understand the 'mechanism of maggots,' we are translating this knowledge to make effective wound-care products." A bandage impregnated with maggot "juice" is one possibility. But a gel containing maggot enzymes is the most likely product, Pritchard said. Such a gel could be spread over wounds to promote healing.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090603-maggots -heal-wounds.html

Robotics insights through flies' eyes

TUM researchers are developing small, flying robots whose position and movement in flight will be controlled by a computer system for visual analysis inspired by the example of the fly's brain.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-07/tum-rit073109.php

It takes nerves for flies to keep a level head

Scientists from Imperial College London have described the connections between two key sets of nerve cells in a fly's brain that help it process what it sees and fast-track that information to its muscles. This helps it stay agile and respond quickly to its environment while on the move. The study, published in the journal PLoS Biology, is an important step towards understanding how nervous systems operate, and could help us improve our knowledge of more complex animals. It could also be used to improve technical control systems in autonomous air vehicles - robots that stay stable in the air without crashing and with no need for remote control.
http://www.physorg.com/news135917718.html

'Anti-Atkins' low protein diet extends lifespan in flies

Flies fed an "anti-Atkins" low protein diet live longer because their mitochondria function better. The research, done at the Buck Institute for Age Research, shows that the molecular mechanisms responsible for the lifespan extension in the flies have important implications for human aging and diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cancer.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-10/bifa-lp092409.php

Scientists give flies false memories

"Flies have the ability to learn, but the circuits that instruct memory formation were unknown,"… the simple brain of a fly likely can tell us much about how more complex brains work.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-10/cp-sgf101209.php

Fly eye paves the way for manufacturing biomimetic surfaces

Rows of tiny raised blowfly corneas may be the key to easy manufacturing of biomimetic surfaces, surfaces that mimic the properties of biological tissues, according to a team of Penn State researchers. "These eyes are perfect for making solar cells because they would collect more sunlight from a larger area rather than just light that falls directly on a flat surface," said Lakhtakia.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-07/ps-fep072710.php

Robotic Fly Gets Its Buzz

Traditional robots are slow, heavy, fragile. What nature builds is light, fast, robust. Inspired by the elegant aerodynamics of flying insects, UC Berkeley engineers, working with the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), have created a tiny wing that flaps and generates lift. Their goal: a flying robot weighing less than a paper clip — one that could be used in search, rescue, monitoring, and reconnaissance.
http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2002/06/fearing/home.html

Language of a fly proves surprising

A group of researchers has developed a novel way to view the world through the eyes of a common fly and partially decode the insect’s reactions to changes in the world around it. The research fundamentally alters earlier beliefs about how neural networks function and could provide the basis for intelligent computers that mimic biological processes.
http://www.lanl.gov/newsroom/news-releases/2008/March/03.10-fly-language.php

Spy Flies

Insects are the aerodynamic acrobats of the air; they can take off backwards, fly sideways and land upside down. A biologist from the University of California Berkeley, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Advanced Projects Agency, has identified the principles that explain not only how insects stay aloft, but also how they steer and maneuver. Dr. Michael Dickinson and his colleagues have discovered that the aerodynamic performance of insects results from the interaction of three distinctly different mechanisms: delayed stall, rotational circulation and wake capture. These findings are important to the DoD because they will aid in the design and ultimate construction of tiny robotic flies that could be used for a variety of missions such as stealthful urban reconnaissance and target tagging. "Dr. Dickinson's research results increase the feasibility of creating robotic insects that can perform a variety of operations," said Dr. Teresa McMullen, the ONR sponsor of this research. The project, referred to as the Micromechanical Flying Insect, is by a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative just getting underway. The ultimate goal of the five-year project is to develop a robotic fly, approximately 5-10mm in size that can fly a short distance and maintain a stable hover.
http://news.bio-medicine.org/biology-news-2/Spy-flies-12906-1/

Biologically-inspired antenna arrays based on the hearing mechanism of the parasitoid fly Ormia Ochracea

These biomimetic antenna arrays could be used in numerous applications ranging from miniaturized RF sensors and direction finding systems to small aperture, high-resolution microwave imaging systems and radars.
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/login.jsp?tp=&arnumber=5996587&url=
http%3A%2F%2Fieeexplore.ieee.org%2Fxpls%2Fabs_all.jsp%3Farnumber%3D5996587

Insect hearing inspires new approach to small antennas

Ormia ochracea is a small parasitic fly best known for its strong sense of directional hearing...such acute hearing in a tiny body has inspired a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher as he studies new designs for very small, powerful antennas. Nader Behdad, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, has received a 2011 Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) award and grant from the National Science Foundation to pursue a novel approach to a challenge that has thwarted electromagnetic researchers for more than a half century..."There hasn't been any work done to design antennas that mimic the hearing mechanism of different insects," he says. "We've designed a basic proof-of-concept antenna and have some preliminary results. But at this point, we still need to understand what the physics are." Behdad's designs are for a type of antenna known as super resolving, which is capable of distinguishing signals coming from different directions. If he can create very small, efficient super-resolving antennas, the technology could result in significantly more wireless bandwidth, better cell phone reception and other applications in the consumer electronics industry, as well as new radar and imaging systems. Behdad also is interested in eventually using his CAREER research to explore small super-directive antennas, a class of antennas that could capture a lot of power coming from one direction.
http://phys.org/news/2011-02-insect-approach-small-antennas.html#jCp

Digging Up Clues: Research On Buried Blow Flies to Help Crime Scene Investigators

When investigating a murder, every clue helps. New research from North Carolina State University sheds light on how -- and whether -- blow flies survive when buried underground during their development. It's an advance that will help forensic investigators understand how long a body may have been left above ground before being buried -- or possibly whether remains were moved from one grave to another.
https://news.ncsu.edu/2011/11/wmswatsonblowfly/

Digging Up Clues: Research On Buried Blow Flies to Help Crime Scene Investigators

"Blow flies are probably the most important insects to forensic entomology"…
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111101125816.htm

FRUIT FLIES

The first animals in space were fruit flies that rode on a V2 rocket on February 27, 1947.

Note: “The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is a model organism for scientists studying the sleep-wake cycle because the fly's genes are highly conserved with the genes of humans”
(http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516142658.htm) is a statement alleging that magical evolution conserved genes from flies to humans over millions of years. The real science is that both humans and fruit flies have a lot of the same genes. Creation science says that Almighty God choose to use certain features in many different creatures.

Traditionally, insect brains are useful models for scientific research. Insect brains have far fewer cells, than a human brain and thus, some of the processes are easier to elucidate. Mechanisms that are used by the insect brain may be used by the brains of many other animals including humans. Certain types of experiments, including many genetic experiments can be done with insects but not with humans. The insect brain that has been the subject of the most study is the Drosophila, or “fruit fly” brain.
http://livingwithinsects.wordpress.com/

Biologists explain function of Pentagone

How do the cells in a human embryo know where they are located in the body and how they should develop? Why do certain cells form a finger while others do not? Biologists have explained the mechanisms that control these steps by showing why veins form at particular points in the wing of a fruit fly. The protein Pentagone spreads a particular signal in the wing that tells the cells how to behave.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160628141235.ht
m

Insect and mammal ovulation more alike than not?

The average American woman lives more than 80 years and ovulates for 35 of them, producing an egg approximately once a month. The typical fruit fly lives about 4 weeks as an adult and ovulates every 30 minutes. Now researchers at the University of Connecticut report in PLOS Genetics that during a key process, the same gene may govern both. If correct, the results could bring insight to cancer metastasis, human fertility and ovarian disease.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150219211900.htm

Same switches program taste, smell in fruit flies

A new study helps explain how fruit flies get their keen sense of smell. Researchers have identified a set of genetic control switches that interact early in a fly's development to generate dozens of types of specialized nerve cells for smell. The findings could reveal how the nervous systems of other animals -- including humans, whose brains have billions of neurons -- produce a dazzling array of cell types from just a few genes.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160203161102.htm

Fruit flies adjust their courtship song based on distance

New research now demonstrates that the male fruit fly also displays this complex behavior during courtship, adjusting the amplitude of his song depending on how far away he is from a female. Studying this process can help shed light on the building blocks for social interactions across the animal kingdom.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160203134443.htm

Doubts on traits triggered by inheritance

The first major challenge to conventional eugenics based upon genetic inheritance was made in 1915 by Thomas Hunt Morgan, who demonstrated the event of genetic mutation occurring outside of inheritance involving the discovery of the hatching of a fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) with white eyes from a family of red-eyes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics

Flying to New Heights

The similarities between Drosophila genes and genes involved in human physiological processes and disease are staggering. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/287/5461/2157.short

Why the fly?

Some of the most remarkable discoveries in biology have come from studies of the humble fruit fly. In its natural habitats, this 3 mm-long fly is widely regarded as a pest by farmers, as it feeds on decaying vegetation and overripe fruit. Yet in the laboratory, it has developed into one of the most powerful tools available to scientists. While it has made its name in studies of genetics and in development, the fruit fly is used for the study of topics as diverse as alcoholism, learning and behaviour, ecology and evolution, human disease and the development of new pharmaceuticals. Nearly a century on from Drosophila's entrance on the world stage of biological research, this tiny fly has become probably the most well understood organism there is - and hundreds of scientists remain committed to unravelling its remaining secrets. "The fly has made a huge contribution to our understanding of biology," concludes Dr Martinez Arias, "and it will continue todo so in years to come - most importantly because it is an experimental system in which we can probe in exquisite detail the function of the proteins and macromolecular aggregates that shape and run human beings. The fly has taught us a great deal about our molecular make-up and now it will teach us how this make-up works."
http://genome.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_wtd020794.htmlModel organisms: The fruit fly

Model organisms: The fruit fly

The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has the longest history of any model organism and has been widely used to study genetics and developmental biology.
The relationship between fly and human genes is so close that the sequences of newly discovered human genes, including disease genes, can often be matched against their fly counterparts. This provides a lead towards the function of the human gene and could help in the development of effective drugs. The analysis of fly embryonic development has made a particularly important contribution to the understanding of developmental processes in humans. The genetic basis of many human birth defects is now known thanks to experiments on developmental mutants in the fly.
http://genome.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTD020807.html

Fruit Flies are fruitless as proof of evolutionism:

Darwin's Theory - Fruit Flies and Morphology

Fruit Flies in the Face of Macroevolution

100 Years of Fruit Fly Tests Show No Evolution

Fruit Fly, 100 Years Later

How the NCSE tries to weasel word the science.

Fruit Flies And Space Flight?

Could these tiny pests, with a life expectancy of four to six weeks, teach humans something new? After all, scientists have already proven they are social animals, have memory, can be taught and avoid certain smells. And, about 61 percent of known human disease genes have a recognizable match in the genetic code of fruit flies.
http://www.interspacenews.com/FeatureArticle/tabid/130/Default.aspx?id=528

FRUIT FLIES ARE SWEET! A FEW OF THOUSANDS OF EXAMPLES!!

The following categories are arbitrary.

BEHAVIOR | DEVELOPMENT | DIET | ENGINEERING | HEARING | MECHANICAL | MEDICAL | NEUROLOGICAL | SLEEP | VISION | MISCELLANEOUS

BEHAVIOR

Angry Flies May Help Explain Human Aggression

The research showed that Drosophila produces a pheromone — a chemical messenger — that promotes aggression, and directly linked it to specific neurons in the fly's antenna. Anderson and his colleagues believe that the findings ultimately may be relevant to the relationship between the neurotransmitter dopamine and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
http://feeds.livescience.com/~r/livescience/animaldomain/~3/5zk0EH2C444/
fly-agression-bts-100115.html

Drunken fruit flies help scientists find potential drug target for alcoholism

This discovery, published in the October 2009 print issue of the journal GENETICS, provides a crucial explanation of why some people seem to tolerate alcohol better than others, as well as a potential target for drugs aimed at preventing or eliminating alcoholism. In addition, this discovery sheds new light on many of the negative side effects of drinking, such as liver damage.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-11/gsoa-dff110309.php

The buzz on fruit flies: New role in the search for addiction treatments

Fruit flies may seem like unlikely heroes in the battle against drug abuse, but new research suggests that these insects — already used to study dozens of human disease — could claim that role. Scientists are reporting that fruit flies can be used as a simpler and more convenient animal model for studying the effects of cocaine and other drugs of abuse on the brain. Their study appears online in ACS Chemical Neuroscience, a new monthly journal.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-12/acs-tbo120209.php

Flies like us: They can act like addicts, too

When given the chance to consume alcohol at will, fruit flies behave in ways that look an awful lot like human alcoholism. "Previously, we studied simple behaviors, such as intoxication and development of tolerance," Heberlein said. "This work opens the door for us to study much more complex alcohol-related behaviors, such as 'use despite adverse consequences' and 'relapse.'"
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-12/cp-flu120309.php

Caltech researchers obtain first brain recordings from behaving fruit flies

Research opens a new avenue for linking genes to behavior. "Prior work on fruit flies has led to many important breakthroughs in biology. For example, the fact that genes reside on chromosomes and our understanding of how genes control development both emerged from experiments on fruit flies," Maimon says. "New research hopes to use these tiny insects to help determine how neurons give rise to complex behavior.”
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-02/ciot-cro021210.php

The Buzz On Fruit Flies: New Role in the Search for Addiction Treatments
Fruit flies may seem like unlikely heroes in the battle against drug abuse, but new research suggests that these insects -- already used to study dozens of human disease -- could claim that role. Scientists are reporting that fruit flies can be used as a simpler and more convenient animal model for studying the effects of cocaine and other drugs of abuse on the brain.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091202114048.htm

'Happy Hour' Gene Discovery Suggests Cancer Drugs Might Treat Alcoholism

A class of drugs already approved as cancer treatments might also help to beat alcohol addiction. That's the conclusion of a discovery in flies of a gene, dubbed happyhour, that has an important and previously unknown role in controlling the insects' response to alcohol… "This is a very powerful example of how simple model organisms -- and the little fruit fly in particular-- can be used to move quickly from an unknown gene to a potential therapy for drug addiction."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090521131302.htm

Drunken Fruit Flies Help Scientists Find Potential Drug Target For Alcoholism

A group of drunken fruit flies have helped researchers from North Carolina State and Boston universities identify entire networks of genes -- also present in humans -- that play a key role in alcohol drinking behavior. This discovery, published in the October 2009 print issue of the journal Genetics, provides a crucial explanation of why some people seem to tolerate alcohol better than others, as well as a potential target for drugs aimed at preventing or eliminating alcoholism. In addition, this discovery sheds new light on many of the negative side effects of drinking, such as liver damage.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091103121618.htm

Pesky fruit flies learn from experienced females: Study

A common household nuisance, the fruit fly, is capable of intricate social learning much like that used by humans, according to new research from McMaster University. "The fruit fly is much more sophisticated than many people think or really want to believe," explains Dukas. "It shares many of the same genes and the same compounds that control learning in humans. This first documentation of social learning in fruit flies opens up exciting avenues for research on the evolution and neurogenetics of social learning."Karl’s comment: The last line could (and should) read: “This first documentation of social learning in fruit flies opens up exciting avenues for research on the neurogenetics of social learning."
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-09/mu-pff091609.php

'Cross' Breeding: What Makes An Angry Fly?

A suite of genes that affect aggression in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogasterhas been identified. By investigating male flies from a large panel of lines which each carry a mutation in a single gene but are otherwise genetically identical, researchers identified particularly angry and particularly placid insects, uncovering 59 mutations in 57 genes that affect aggressive behavior… The researchers say these results may also be relevant to behavior in other animal species, "Given the conservation of aggressive behavior among different animal species, these are novel candidate genes for future study in other animals, including humans".
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090610192429.htm

Complicated Gene Networks Involved in Fly Aggression

Fruit fly aggression is correlated with smaller brain parts, involves complex interactions between networks of important genes, and often cannot be controlled with mood-altering drugs like lithium. Those are the results of a painstaking study conducted by researchers at North Carolina State University and colleagues in Belgium who are trying to discover what happens in the genes and brains of hyper-aggressive flies and how that differs from what takes place in more passive fly cousins. Dr. Trudy Mackay, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished University Professor of Genetics and a co-lead author of a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says that the findings in the fruit fly could one day lead to helping humans -- think of Alzheimer's patients who suddenly become more aggressive -- by providing a framework of how complex gene interactions affect behavior. Fruit flies are model organisms for studying genes and traits like aggression.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110929103220.htm

By Tracking Maggots' Food Choices, Scientists Open Significant New Window Into Human Learning

The squirming larva of the humble fruit fly, which shares a surprising amount of genetic material with the human being, is helping scientists to understand the way we learn information from one another… The McMaster researchers were able to demonstrate that the larvae, or maggots, are capable of social learning, which opens the door to many other experiments that could provide valuable insights into human behaviour, end even lead to treatments for human disorders, the scientists say.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130731122630.htm

DEVELOPMENT

First genome methylation mapping in fruit fly

Why is this finding important? Methylation is a stable chemical modification of the genome; in humans and other vertebrates it participates in controlling when and where genes are on and off, but its functions in other organisms are not understood. The finding suggests that genome methylation may have a hitherto uncharacterized function…Drosophila is one of the classic model organisms, with very well established tools to study its biology. The researchers' description of methylation in the fly will facilitate the use of this powerful experimental system to study methylation. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140327142453.htm

Scientists Unlock Possible Aging Secret in Genetically Altered Fruit Fly

“There are very few, if any, interventions that are known to dramatically extend healthy lifespan,” Helfand said. “Understanding how … the Indy mutation alters the metabolic state of the fruit fly would allow someone to come up withpharmacological interventions that could mimic it and give you the benefit of genetic manipulation without having to do genetics.”
http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2009/01/aging

How does a heart know when it’s big enough?

A protein discovered in fruit fly eyes has brought a Johns Hopkins team closer to understanding how the human heart and other organs automatically "right size" themselves, a piece of information that may hold clues to controlling cancer. Pan's team identified the gene they named Hippo in 2003, showing that an abnormal copy of it led to an unusually large eye in a eveloping fruit fly. The Johns Hopkins and Florida State teams discovered Kibra by studying ovarian cells from adult flies and by using a gene-controlling technique called RNA interference (RNAi) to systematically turn off each of the approximately 14,000 genes in the fly genome, one at a time, in cultured fly cells. Further studies on human cells measured the activity of the Hippo pathway while manipulating human Kibra and showed that like its fruit fly counterpart, human Kibra acts as a tumor suppressor protein that regulates Hippo signaling.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-03/jhmi-hda032510.php

Protein shown to be natural inhibitor of aging in fruit fly model

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, have identified a protein called Sestrin that serves as a natural inhibitor of aging and age-related pathologies in fruit flies. They also showed that Sestrin, whose structure and biochemical function are conserved between flies and humans, is needed for regulation of a signaling pathway that is the entral controller of aging and metabolism. "Strikingly, the pathologies caused by the Sestrin deficiency included accumulation of triglycerides, cardiac arrhythmia and muscle degeneration that occurred in rather young flies," said Karin. "These pathologies are amazingly similar to the major disorders of overweight, heart failure and muscle loss that accompany aging in humans." "Maybe one day we will be able to use Sestrin analogs to prevent much of the tissue failure associated with aging, as well as treat a number of degenerative diseases, whose incidence goes up with old age, including sarcopenia and Alzheimer's disease," said Karin.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-03/uoc--pst030110.php

Insect Glands May Illuminate Human Fertilization Process

The gene that controls the development of these glands in fruit flies provides important information about gland development in all insects, as well as potential clues to similar human reproductive glands…"The fruit fly work in our paper rovides a method for studying the cellular physiology governing this reproductive secretion process more quickly, cheaply and effectively than we had previously thought possible," Spradling said. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120503125816.htm

Gene Critical to Sense of Smell in Fruit Fly Identified

The corresponding gene in mammals and humans, called Dlx, is known to be important in the sense of smell. The Dlx gene has also been implicated in autism and epilepsy. By studying how distal-less works in fruit fly neurons, the scientists also hope to expand understanding of Dlx. "We're really interested in knowing at a very fundamental level what distal-less is doing in the fly olfactory system and how it's doing it," says senior author Dr. Grace Boekhoff-Falk, associate professor of cell and regenerative biology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "We're also hoping that what we learn in flies can give us a better understanding of how Dlx works in vertebrates, including humans.".. Boekhoff-Falk and er group have studied distal-less (dll) for years, previously investigating its role in the fruit fly hearing system and its limb development…"Our model may be useful for further analysis of how this gene regulates stem cells," she says… All told, the findings make the fruit fly a powerful model for investigating dll function. "We think these studies have the potential to be highly relevant to human biology," says Boekhoff-Falk.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120120010449.htm

Tuning In On Cellular Communication In The Fruit Fly

After fertilization, cells must send and receive signals that instruct them how and when to specialize and build all the tissues that comprise the adult organism. This requires a complex system of communication, both within each cell and among cells. The WPI team focused on one portion of that network known as the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathway, in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)… By exploring the role of Keks and related proteins in fruit flies and other model systems, uffy hopes to glean new knowledge that may, one day, have an impact on human health. "The fruit fly is an excellent model system to study basic biologic processes," Duffy said. "Then, as we understand how these proteins function in the fly, we can use that knowledge to help us explore similar processes in humans." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090218135049.htm

What Triggers Puberty? Researchers Discover Mechanism That Regulates Steroid Hormone Production in Fruit Flies

According to Milán, "accelerated growth or obesity can provoke premature puberty in humans, harming their development -- and this is a growing problem in Western societies. Today, physicians know very little about the molecular mechanisms behind premature puberty, and Drosophila is providing us with our first hints.".. These findings may be relevant to human health if elements homologous to those found in flies can be identified in people. "Premature sexual maturity slows down growth, preventing adults from developing properly," says Boulan…"By beginning to identify these elements in Drosophila, researchers will be able to make much faster progress in their efforts to discover new drugs to prevent and treat premature puberty," concludes Milán.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307122954.htm

Inheritance of Lifespan Is Sex-Dependent in Fruit Flies

The new study by the German-Swedish research team has turned a previous assumption by biologists and physicians upside down: up to now, they had thought that the genetic risk of a disease was equally strong in both female and male descendants… In principle, this finding could also generalize to human beings, because human life expectancy is also hereditary. According to Schielzeth, this sex-specific heredity may also be relevant for medicine, and that therapies should pay more attention to sex-specific risks.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130913085758.htm

DIET

Dietary restriction gives fruit flies a rhythm for a long life

Dietary restriction enhances the expression of the circadian clock genes in the peripheral tissue of fruit flies, according to research from the Kapahi lab at the Buck Institute. Publishing in Cell Metabolism, the researchers show that dietary restriction, induced by reducing protein in the diet, increased the amplitude of circadian clocks and enhanced the cycles of fat breakdown and fat synthesis. This improvement in fat metabolism may be a key mechanism in explaining why dietary restriction extends lifespan in several species…The research also presents a tantalizing possibility for humans eager to take a drug that would allow them to reap the health benefits of dietary restriction without going on an extreme diet.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151125125057.htm

Latest epidemic? High cholesterol, obesity in fruit flies (Tiny insects can shed light on human regulatory processes)

How do fruit flies get high cholesterol and become obese? The same way as people do – by eating a diet that's too rich in fats. More importantly, according to two new studies led by a University of Utah human geneticist, fruit flies use the same molecular mechanisms as humans to help maintain proper balances of cholesterol and a key form of stored fat that contributes to obesity. The findings mean that as researchers try to learn more about the genetic and biological processes through which people regulate cholesterol and fat metabolism, the humble fruit fly, also called Drosophila, can teach humans much about themselves. "Not a lot is known about these regulatory mechanisms in people," says Carl S. Thummel, Ph.D., professor of human genetics at the U of U School of Medicine and senior author on the two studies. "But we can learn a lot by studying metabolic control in fruit flies and apply what we learn to humans."
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-12/uouh-leh120209.php

Tiny fruit fly could offer big clues in fight against obesity, researcher says

The tiny tongue of a fruit fly could provide big answers to questions about human eating habits, possibly even leading to new ways to treat obesity, according to a study from a team of Texas A&M University researchers. Obesity is one of the major threats to health worldwide, especially in the United States, where the number of obese persons has skyrocketed in recent years.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-02/tau-tff021110.php

Obesity-Related Hormone Discovered in Fruit Flies

Researchers have discovered in fruit flies a key metabolic hormone thought to be the exclusive property of vertebrates. The hormone, leptin, is a nutrient sensor, regulating energy intake and output and ultimately controlling appetite. As such, it is of keen interest to researchers investigating obesity and diabetes on the molecular level. But until now, complex mammals such as mice have been the only models for investigating the mechanisms of this critical hormone. These new findings suggest that fruit flies can provide significant insights into the molecular underpinnings of fat sensing …"The key significance here is that we can now take full advantage of the sophisticated genetic tool kit available in fly genetics to address profoundly complex questions pertaining to leptin biology," said Perrimon. "This is good news to scientists studying obesity at the molecular level." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120927124200.htm

A Different Path to Fat-Related Heart Disease

In this study, the researchers analyzed mutant fruit flies (called easily shocked mutants) that have abnormally low levels of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), a type of fat that makes up a major component of cellular membranes in both flies and mammals… The researchers addressed this question by inhibiting SREBP or its fat-synthesizing target genes through genetic manipulation. In doing so, they were able to restore fat balance and rescue PE-deficient flies from heart malfunction. These beneficial effects were also achieved by reducing SREBP in just the heart, rather than the whole fly. As a result, the flies were still obese, but their hearts functioned normally. These findings further underscore the importance of SREBP in excess fat-related heart diseases, like lipotoxic cardiomyopathy. "Here we identified a new metabolic pathway that exhibits striking similarities to obesity- and diabetes-related heart failure in humans," explained Dr. Bodmer, professor and director of the development and aging program at Sanford-Burnham and senior author of the study. "This information might now allow us to interfere with the toxic effects of high fat in the heart by directly manipulating these genes in the heart muscle." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118101340.htm

Hunger Affects Decision-Making and Perception of Risk

Hungry people are often difficult to deal with. A good meal can affect more than our mood, it can also influence our willingness to take risks. This phenomenon is also apparent across a very diverse range of species in the animal kingdom. Experiments conducted on the fruit fly, Drosophila, by scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried have shown that hunger not only modifies behaviour, but also changes pathways in the brain. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130625073802.htm

Appetite, Consumption Controlled by Clockwork Genes at Cross-Purposes in Flies

One of the pioneers in research on sleep-wake circadian genes, Amita Sehgal, Ph.D., has discovered that fruit flies' appetite and consumption are controlled by two rival sets of clocks, one in neurons and the other in the fly fat body, which is analogous to the liver… However, scientists' understanding of 24-hour circadian clocks has dawned only in recent decades when cell biologists began experimenting with the fruit fly and discovered that 24-hour cycling genes controlled its sleeping patterns. Research has shown that clockwork genes set the pace for many human body organs, such as the liver whose clock drives rhythms in metabolic function.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091206162953.htm

Scientists Identify Neurons That Control Feeding Behavior in Drosophila

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have developed a novel transgenic system which allows them to remotely activate individual brain cells in the model organism Drosophila using ambient temperature. This powerful new tool for identifying and characterizing neural circuitry has lead to the identification of a pair of neurons -- now called Fdg neurons -- in the fruit fly that decide when to eat and initiate the subsequent feeding action. Discovery of these neurons may help neurobiologists better understand how the brain uses memory and stimuli to produce classically conditioned responses, such as those often associated with phobias or drug tolerance. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130614125645.htm

How Do Organisms Make Dietary Choices?

When given a choice, organisms will choose a diet that maintains a nutritional balance in tune with their needs. That choice, studied in fruit flies for the first time, is regulated by activity in a molecular pathway involved in aging, cancer and diabetes. The research undertaken in fruit flies at the Buck Institute for Age Research has implications for humans, who share the same molecular pathway. The study, the first to be done in a genetically tractable lab animal, provides a way to begin the development of treatments that could "reboot" metabolic pathways in individuals who are obese or suffer from diabetes… "This adds a crucial dimension to the research, one that takes into account the reality of human experience which involves food choice," he said.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100513123827.htm

Scientists Pinpoint Protein Link To Fat Storage

Understanding its role will help us to better understand how the body stores fat." Invadolysin was first identified by Professor Heck's laboratory in fruit flies. The latest study looked at the protein in human cells, pinpointing its presence in the part of cells used to store fat. The researchers also found that when invadolysin was absent in fruit fly larvae, fat storage was impaired. Further studies will look at how the protein affects metabolism to better understand its role in obesity-related disorders.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090917111619.htm

First Fruit Fly Model of Diet-Induced Type 2 Diabetes Shows How High-Sugar Diet Affects Heart; New Therapeutic Opportunities

Regularly consuming sucrose -- the type of sugar found in many sweetened beverages -- increases a person's risk of heart disease. In a study published January 10 in the journal PLOS Genetics, researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and Mount Sinai School of Medicine used fruit flies, a well-established model for human health and disease, to determine exactly how sucrose affects heart function. In addition, the researchers discovered that blocking this cellular mechanism prevents sucrose-related heart problems… The research team was the first to model heart disease caused by type 2 diabetes in fruit flies. They achieved this simply by feeding the flies a diet high in sucrose. High-sucrose flies showed many classic signs of human type 2 diabetes, including high blood sugar and insulin signaling defects. The team also saw signs of diabetes-induced heart malfunction in these flies -- deteriorating heart function, cardiac arrhythmia and fibrosis…"It's remarkable that we're able to use the fruit fly as a discovery tool for elucidating basic molecular mechanisms, not only of many types of heart disease, but also dietary influences that help us understand what happens in human hearts," added Rolf Bodmer, Ph.D., professor at Sanford-Burnham and a senior author of the study…"Diet-induced heart damage is one of our society's most serious health issues. Our flies now give us a tool to explore the role of high dietary sugar, and the means to identify treatments in the context of the whole body," said Ross Cagan, Ph.D., professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a senior author of this study.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130117084932.htm

'Diabetic Flies' Can Speed Up Disease-Fighting Research

In a finding that has the potential to significantly speed up diabetes research, scientists at the University of Maryland have discovered that fruit flies respond to insulin at the cellular level much like humans do, making these common, easily bred insects good subjects for laboratory experiments in new treatments for diabetes. The common fruit fly   Drosophila melanogaster  looks like a sesame seed with wings, produces offspring by the thousands, and lives for around a month. These creatures don't resemble humans in any obvious way, but they share more than sixty percent of our genetic code. And scientists like UMD's Leslie Pick and Georgeta Crivat are finding that those similarities control basic biological processes that work alike in both species…"We hope to use all the genetic tools we have available for flies, and the fact that we can breed them in huge numbers, very fast, to set up efficient screening tests for assessing new diabetes treatments," Pick said.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131106202235.htm

Brain Pathway Triggering Impulsive Eating Identified

New research from the University of Georgia has identified the neural pathways in an insect brain tied to eating for pleasure, a discovery that sheds light on mirror impulsive eating pathways in the human brain… His work also suggests the neuropeptides, or brain chemicals acting as signaling molecules triggering impulsive eating, are consistent between flies and humans… Impulsive and reward-driven behaviors are largely misunderstood, partially due to the complex systems at work in human brains. Fly larvae nervous systems, in terms of scheme and organization, are very similar to adult flies and to mammals, but with fewer neurons and less complex wirings. "A particular function in the brain of mammals may require a large cluster of neurons," he said. "In flies, it may be only one or four. They are simpler in number but not principle.".. "Dieting is difficult, especially in the environment of these beautiful foods," Shen said. "It is very hard to control this impulsive urge. So, if we understand how this compulsive eating behavior comes about, we maybe can devise a way, at least for the behavioral aspect, to prevent it. We can modulate our behaviors better or use chemical interventions to calm down these cues."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130228124644.htm

'Slimming Gene' Discovered That Regulates Body Fat

Scientists at the University of Bonn have discovered a previously unknown fruit fly gene that controls the metabolism of fat. Larvae in which this gene is defective lose their entire fat reserves. Therefore the researchers called the gene 'schlank' (German for 'slim'). Mammals carry a group of genes that are structurally very similar to 'schlank'. They possibly take on a similar function in the energy metabolism. The scientists therefore have hopes in new medicines with which obesity could be fought … According to their research the gene contains the instructions of what is known as ceramide synthase. Ceramides serve as raw materials for the gauzy membranes that enclose all of the cells in the body. Moreover, schlank also has a regulatory function. It promotes lipid synthesis and at the same time inhibits the mobilisation of fat from the fat reserves.
There is a chance that this is not only the case in fruit flies. Humans also produce ceramide synthases however not just one as Drosophila does but rather as many as six different ones. For this purpose humans rely on a group of genes so-called Lass genes. Ceramide synthases are extremely important for animals. Mutations in the corresponding genes lead to severe metabolic disorders and to malfunctions of organ systems. That is why our Lass genes look surprisingly similar to the schlank gene of fruit flies… Up to now, the Lass genes of mammals have not been connected with the regulation of the lipid metabolism. 'But due to the strong parallels with schlank we think such a function is very probable,' Professor Hoch presumes. 'If this is the case they would be a promising approach for new medications for obesity.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091102111843.htm

Fly Study Uncovers Molecular Link Between Obesity and Heart Disease

At Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham), a team led by Sean Oldham, Ph.D., and Rolf Bodmer, Ph.D., recently created a simple model to link high-fat diet, obesity and heart dysfunction. Using fruit flies, they discovered that a protein called TOR influences fat accumulation in the heart. Their study, published November 3 in the journal   Cell Metabolism,  also demonstrates that manipulating TOR protects the hearts of obese flies from damage caused by high-fat diets…"We next wanted to look at TOR activity in obesity-related heart disease, but we didn't have a good system. In this study, we establish the fruit fly as a model for obesity caused by a high-fat diet." The fruit fly model is ideal for studying the heart because most of the basic molecular mechanisms controlling its development are surprisingly similar to those in vertebrates -- even somewhat interchangeable. What's more, it's relatively easy to delete individual genes in the fly, allowing researchers to specifically map out each one's role in heart development and function… This fruit fly model will now allow researchers to answer many other questions about diet, obesity and the heart.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101102130129.htm

ENGINEERING

Six-Legged Robots Faster Than Nature-Inspired Gait

Researchers at EPFL and UNIL have discovered a faster and more efficient gait, never observed in nature, for six-legged robots walking on flat ground. Bio-inspired gaits – less efficient for robots – are used by real insects since they have adhesive pads to walk in three dimensions. The results provide novel approaches for roboticists and new information to biologists. When vertebrates run, their legs exhibit minimal contact with the ground. But insects are different. These six-legged creatures run fastest using a three-legged, or “tripod” gait where they have three legs on the ground at all times – two on one side of their body and one on the other. The tripod gait has long inspired engineers who design six-legged robots… Many robot designers are inspired by nature and biologists can use robots to better understand the behavior of animal species. We believe that our work represents an important contribution to the study of animal and robotic locomotion.” http://actu.epfl.ch/news/six-legged-robots-faster-than-nature-inspired-gait/

Halteres, essential for flight in all flies, are needed by some to climb walls

Research from Case Western Reserve University indicates sensory organs on the backs of flies not only provide information crucial to body rotation and flight maneuvers, but are essential to some species when climbing. The findings suggest these mallet-shaped sensory organs, called halteres, may play multiple roles in how flies behave, providing clues to how brains absorb and use multiple streams of information. The discovery has implications for human health and engineering, providing insight about how the sense of the body's movement in space is integrated with visual information, and serving as a model for sensors that could enable bird or moth-size robots to fly, climb walls or manage other challenging situations.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151125125145.htm

Antennae help flies 'cruise' in gusty winds

Due to its well-studied genome and small size, the humble fruit fly has been used as a model to study hundreds of human health issues ranging from Alzheimer's to obesity. However, Michael Dickinson, Esther M. and Abe M. Zarem Professor of Bioengineering at Caltech, is more interested in the flies themselves -- and how such tiny insects are capable of something we humans can only dream of: autonomous flight…Beyond learning more about the fly's wind-sensing capabilities, Fuller says that this information will also help engineers design small flying robots -- creating a sort of man-made fly. "Tiny flying robots will take a lot of inspiration from flies.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140410160302.htm

E-Noses: Testing Their Mettle Against Fly Noses

Scientists from CSIRO’s Food Futures Flagship have made a breakthrough in efforts to extend the sensory range of ‘electronic noses’ (e-noses) by developing a system for comparing their performance against the much-superior nose of the fly…The fly seems to make a range of broadly tuned receptors that are independent of each other and human engineers haven’t yet worked out how to do this.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090729092541.htm

Fruit fly nervous system provides new solution to fundamental computer network problem

The fruit fly has evolved (NOTE: See BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!--Karl) a method for arranging the tiny, hair-like structures it uses to feel and hear the world that's so efficient a team of scientists in Israel and at Carnegie Mellon University says it could be used to more effectively deploy wireless sensor networks and other distributed computing applications. With a minimum of communication and without advance knowledge of how they are connected with each other, the cells in the fly's developing nervous system manage to organize themselves so that a small number of cells serve as leaders that provide direct connections with every other nerve cell, said author Ziv Bar-Joseph, associate professor of machine learning at Carnegie Mellon University. The result, the researchers report in the Jan. 14 edition of the journal Science, is the same sort of scheme used to manage the distributed computer networks that perform such everyday tasks as searching the Web or controlling an airplane in flight. But the method used by the fly's nervous system to organize itself is much simpler and more robust than anything humans have concocted. They found it has qualities that make it particularly well suited for networks in which the number and position of the nodes is not completely certain. These include wireless sensor networks, such as environmental monitoring, where sensors are dispersed in a lake or waterway, or systems for controlling swarms of robots. The researchers created a computer algorithm based on the fly's approach and proved that it provides a fast solution to the MIS problem. [In the computing world, one step toward creating this distributive system is to find a small set of processors that can be used to rapidly communicate with the rest of the processors in the network — what graph theorists call a maximal independent set (MIS).]
http://esciencenews.com/articles/2011/01/13/fruit.fly.nervous.system.provides.
new.solution.fundamental.computer.network.problem

Staying the Course: Fruit Flies Employ Stabilizer Reflex to Recover from Midflight Stumbles

Learning from the biological world could help the mechanical world, as the research on insect flight could help engineers simplify the design of maneuverable and stable flapping-wing aircraft.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301151933.htm

Staying the Course: Fruit Flies Employ Stabilizer Reflex to Recover from Midflight Stumbles

Observing the aerial maneuvers of fruit flies, Cornell University researchers have uncovered how the insects -- when disturbed by sharp gusts of wind -- right themselves and stay on course. Fruit flies use an automatic stabilizer reflex that helps them recover with precision from midflight stumbles, according to observations published online March 1, 2010 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Learning from the biological world could help the mechanical world, as the research on insect flight could help engineers simplify the design of maneuverable and stable flapping-wing aircraft. The team led by Cornell doctoral candidate Leif Ristroph made its observations with three high-speed (about 8,000 frames per second) video cameras that recorded every slight motion of the insects. Ristroph is a student in the laboratory of Itai Cohen, assistant professor of physics… The researchers found that the insects paddled their wings to steer while flying, delicately adjusting the inclination of their wings by miniscule amounts -- as little as 9 degrees -- at a remarkable rate of 250 times a second.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301151933.htm

HEARING

When Jesus wanted to emphasis that something was important He used the “ears to hear” context.

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Matt. 11:15
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Matt. 13:9
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Matt. 13:43b
And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Mark 4:9If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. Mark 4:23
If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. Mark 7:16
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Luke 8:8b
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Luke 14:35

A small fly makes the words of Jesus pertinent to evolutionists. The next seven items clearly make the point.

A Fly's Hearing: Fruit Fly Is Ideal Model to Study Hearing Loss in People

University of Iowa researchers say that the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is an ideal model to study hearing loss in humans caused by loud noise. The reason: The molecular underpinnings to its hearing are roughly the same as with people…"The fruit fly model is superior to other models in genetic flexibility, cost, and ease of testing.”
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130902162543.htm

Flies-The new buzz in hearing aids

Scientists announced recently the development of a microphone that can pinpoint exactly where a sound is coming from. This technology could be added to hearing aids, making them more efficient. Although this may sound like a feat of human engineering, its design was nicked from a parasitic fly called Ormia ochracea. This bug has exceptional hearing thanks to a bridge of protein linking its eardrums. This bridge rocks up and down and amplifies differences in the sound waves arriving at each ear, allowing the fly to detect the tiniest of differences and get a much better directional signal. Work at the University of Maryland indicates that this “fly mike” is eight times more effective at pinpointing the direction of sound than the best commercial one.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article3682479.ece

Super fly lends an ear to bio-inspired hearing aids and robotic listening devices, Cornell neuroscientists report

Cornell University neuroscientists knew they had one amazing fly on their hands when they tested Ormia ochracea , a tiny insect parasite with such acute directional hearing that it has inspired a new generation of hearing aids and nanoscale listening devices...Not only can the fly match the species thought to have the best directional hearing --Homo sapiens -- but it does so with a fraction of the head space, a boon to miniaturization of man-made devices...These latest findings encourage us to continue development of a very small and inexpensive directional hearing aid," says Hoy, a professor of neurobiology and behavior who has studied the parasitic fly for 10 years...Hoy is a scientific consultant to engineers trying to make a directional hearing aid that would be smaller, simpler and cost thousands of dollars less than currently available devices. Nanoscale listening devices based on the Ormia ear are under development at several industrial and university laboratories, including one at Cornell...Individuals who use hearing aids often struggle to understand conversation competing with other sounds and noises in the environment. The biological lessons provided by Ormia 's abilities in hyperacute time-coding and localization of sound promise to produce strategies for improved nano- or microscale directional microphones in hearing aids. Applications of these new principles may improve life for individuals with hearing loss who depend upon hearing aids."
http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/march01/fly_ear.hrs.html

A Fly on the Wall, Literally-- Parasitic flies may hold secret to better hearing-aid technology

Parasitic flies may hold secret to better hearing-aid technology While most flies have no sense of hearing at all, the tiny Ormia ochracea – which is less than one centimetre long – can determine the direction of a sound within a range of two degrees, a feat previously ascribed to only keen-eared owls, cats and humans. “Their sense of hearing is remarkable considering their ears are so close together ... Hearing aids that incorporate directional microphones could help hearing-impaired people filter out background noise and tune in to one sound.
http://www.magazine.utoronto.ca/leading-edge/ormia-ochracea-hearing-in-flies/

Fly lends an ear to microphone design

Now, engineers are creating a micro-microphone inspired by the fly's extraordinary ear..."The fly has given us an entirely different way of looking at microphone design"...For one thing, the new design strategy could lead to hearing aids that hide within a person's ear canal yet gather sound primarily from the direction the listener is facing, its developers say. It may also find use in battlefield-surveillance devices and yet more compact substitutes for microphones now used in cell phones and other communications gear...Using techniques for making microchips, the researchers have made a 1-mm-by-2-mm silicon diaphragm with a mechanical structure that resembles the fly ear's...The fly-inspired design "is breaking new ground in the area of acoustic sensing," says Edgar J. Martinez of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Arlington, Va., which helps fund the work.
http://www.phschool.com/science/science_news/articles/fly_lends_ear.html

Of flies and crickets: Directional microphones for hearing aids

One of the drivers of sales in the hearing aid industry is the cosmetic appeal of the aid, which typically means a smaller size. It is extremely difficult to design small directional microphones because the reduction in size comes at the cost of sensitivity to sound pressure changes. Microphone noise becomes an issue, making it difficult to extract the signal from the noise...Using microfabrication technology, researchers have designed a differential microphone diaphragm that is light and pivots about a central hinge, much like the pivoting motion of the eardrums about the intertympanal bridge of the Ormia. These fly-inspired directional microphones are much smaller than current microphones used in hearing aids, but still have a lower noise differential as a result of low microphone noise.
http://withyourcuppa.wordpress.com/tag/research/

Hearing Aides

A partnership supported by NIH and NASA, emerging from the 1995 survey of federal agencies, could potentially revolutionize the technology used for directional microphones. The new technology is based on the ears of a parasitic fly, Ormia ochracea. Despite their small size and the short distance between them, Ormia’s ears are able to rapidly pinpoint the location from which the sound of a potential host—a cricket—is coming, even in a noisy environment. The intriguing mechanism that enables Ormia to accomplish this feat has provided a model for scientists and engineers to use in developing miniature directional microphones for hearing aids that can better focus on speech in a single conversation, even when surrounded by other voices.
http://report.nih.gov/nihfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=95

New way to open insects' exoskeletons for study

Scientists believe that hearing in fruit flies and in humans is remarkably similar at the cellular level, which is why they'd like to explore the fruit fly's ear to learn more about how humans hear. But they can't easily get at the fly ear. Research led by the University of Iowa has a found a way to access the fly's ear -- as well organs in other insects -- even though it is protected by a hardened outer coating known as an exoskeleton… These basic hearing processes, whether in flies or in humans, remain mostly a mystery. "The remarkable thing is a fly ear and a human ear look vastly different, but there's a lot of similarity in how these organs work."
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160928153545.htm

And the flies have it... - novel auditory mechanisms in a parasitoid fly

Dr. Hoy's lab at Cornell, along with Dr. Miles's group at SUNY Binghamton, Dr. Mason's lab at the University of Toronto at Scarborough, and collaborating engineers are working to fabricate a directional microphone that builds on the physical principles that the Ormia tympanal membrane uses to amplify ITD and ILD differences. The current designs use MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) fabrication techniques, which are similar to the way silicon computer chips are designed and manufactured. Such a device could be used to precisely measure sound intensity of very low-intensity sounds and conduct measurements with high degree of accuracy. It may also be used as a directionally sensitive microphone that would be both small in size and low in cost.
http://nelson.beckman.illinois.edu/courses/neuroethol/models/fly_hearing/fly_hearing.html

MECHANICAL

Flies Don't Think Much Of Turning

Using a high speed camera filming at 8,000 frames per second and new image tracking software, Bergou discovered that flies rely less on their brains than previously thought and more on the clever design of their wings. This design principle behind fly U-turns -- wings that are self-adjusting and do the work of turning by themselves -- has attracted the interest of researchers like Robert Wood of Harvard University, who are developing the latest generation of tiny manmade flying machines that buzz not with life but with electricity.
http://www.physorg.com/news189431853.html

Nature’s Super-Rubber Made in Lab

Using a gene from fruit flies, scientists have produced the most resilient and stretchy rubber known. The material could be the starting point for a wide variety of applications, from industry to medicine.
http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2005/10/12-01.html

(I like Dr. Jonathan Sarfati ‘s headline: “Scientists finally copy Creator’s super-rubber” http://creation.com/super-rubber)

How flies set their cruising altitude

Insects in flight must somehow calculate and control their height above the ground, and researchers reporting online on August 19 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, have new insight into how fruit flies do it. The answer is simpler than expected. The researchers figured this out thanks to a sophisticated "gizmo" built by Andrew Straw, also of Caltech, that allowed them to track the movements of free-flying fruit flies using multiple digital cameras as they moved through a 3D virtual-reality space in which the researchers had complete control over what the insects saw. The researchers could even cancel out the effects of the flies' own movement on what they saw as they flew through space, allowing them to put the optic ground flow theory to the test in a rigorous way. The findings might have practical applications, he added. For example, they could come in handy for working out the ideal rules of operation for flying robots.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-08/cp-hfs081210.php

Fly, Robot Fly

The insectlike robots that my colleagues and I at the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory are creating are intended to perform rescue and reconnaissance operations with equal ease.
Search-and-rescue operations, hazardous environment exploration and monitoring, planetary exploration, and building inspections are just a few of the potential applications for highly agile, insect-scale rescue robots.
http://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/aviation/fly-robot-fly/1

Staying the course: fruit flies employ stabilizer reflex to recover from midflight stumbles

Learning from the biological world could help the mechanical, as the research on insect flight could help engineers simplify the design of maneuverable and stable flapping-wing aircraft.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-03/cu-stc030110.php

Dysfunctional Mitochondria May Underlie Resistance to Radiation Therapy

The resistance of some cancers to the cell-killing effects of radiation therapy may be due to abnormalities in the mitochondria -- the cellular structures responsible for generating energy, according to an international team of researchers… When Frolov and colleagues exposed fruit flies carrying a mutant E2F gene to radiation, genes that initiate apoptosis were activated, but the flies did not die…"This result highlights a remarkable degree of conservation between fruit flies and humans and illustrates the advantages of using model organisms in cancer research," said Frolov, whose laboratory is part of the UIC Cancer Center. Frolov and his colleagues think that dysfunctional mitochondria might underlie the differences in how patients respond to radiation therapy. Previous studies have suggested that the inability of some patients' mitochondria to support apoptosis might account for differences in their response to chemotherapy for acute myelogenous leukemia. "If we could develop a small-molecule drug that could enhance mitochondrial function in these patients, we may be able to improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy," Frolov said.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125121708.htm

MEDICAL

In fruit fly and human genetics, timing is everything

Using the fruit fly Drosophila, a standard lab model for studying animal biology, the researchers discovered a cascade of molecular signals that program gene activity to drive the fly from one stage of maturation to the next, like a baby turning into an adult. Part of this programming, they found, involves alterations to the way DNA is packaged. Those alterations open up certain regions of DNA to allow gene activity and close off other regions to prevent gene activity. The scientists found evidence that these changes to DNA accessibility occur in sequence. "We're finally getting at one of the core mechanisms in biology, which determine the timing and sequence of events in normal animal development at the level of our genes,"…This basic biology finding could have significance for human health, too. The changes to cell reprogramming that the scientists observed in the young flies can occur inappropriately in adult human cells -- spurring cancer, for example. "We hope that this work will help us better understand what goes awry in cancer and other diseases," McKay said.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170525123042.htm

Study finds fly growth mimics cancer cells, creating new tool in fight against disease

Scientists who study a molecule known to play a role in certain types of cancers and neurodegenerative disorders have a powerful new tool to study this compound due to research conducted at Indiana University. The study, published Jan. 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows how the extreme growth experienced by fruit flies in their earliest stage of life shares biochemical similarities with the growth of cancer cells… There's a lot of important questions we can answer using the power of fly genetics."
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170124140737.htm

Study finds fly growth mimics cancer cells, creating new tool in fight against disease

Scientists who study a molecule known to play a role in certain types of cancers and neurodegenerative disorders have a powerful new tool to study this compound due to research conducted at Indiana University…"We found that the same molecule implicated in human cancers is also produced by fruit flies during their larval stage," said senior author Jason M. Tennessen, an assistant professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Biology. "The discovery is significant because it provides the first animal model to understand how these molecules function in healthy cells. "If we can determine the function of this molecule in normal cells, we can better understand how it causes human disease."
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170124140737.htm

Fruit flies yield clues on cancerous tumor hotspots

A Florida State University research team, in coordination with a team from Japan, has found that the epithelial tissues that line the surfaces of organs throughout the body intrinsically have hot spots for cancerous tumors. They discovered this by examining a common household pest -- the fruit fly… "If we know what intrinsic factors cause tumor formation we may be able to harness it and learn more," Deng said. "The more we know, the better we can get at treating and preventing cancer.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160907125334.htm

Rhythm and blues: Fly’s heart beats to the pulse of a blue laser

"Working with fruit flies adds the powerful tool of designing studies that span the life cycle," explains Zhou. "Because we can alter the heart rate in the pupa non-invasively it allows us to study the effect of early heart irregularities on the development of the adult fly. This provides great potential for experiments aimed at understanding developmental abnormalities such as arrhythmias and to pursue new therapeutic strategies that may eventually be applied to human cardiac disorders."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151203160356.htm

A cause of age-related inflammation found

As animals age, their immune systems gradually deteriorate, a process called immunosenescence. It is associated with systemic inflammation and chronic inflammatory disorders, as well as with many cancers. The causes underlying this age-associated inflammation, and how it leads to diseases, are poorly understood…Insects have an immune organ called the fat body, which is roughly equivalent to the mammalian fat and liver. It is responsible for many immune functions…the fruit fly fat body experiences a great deal of inflammation in aged flies. These inflamed fly fat bodies then secrete proteins that lead to a reduction in immune response of the gut. This reduction of the gut immune response causes the gut's stem cells to undergo excessive division and inappropriate differentiation, creating a condition called hyperplasia that shares features with the precancerous polyps found in human guts…"Our findings have implications for mammals as well as for insects…and our work could provide insight into immunosenescence in humans."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141106132200.htm

Fruit flies used to unlock mysteries of human diabetes

For the first time, the tiny fruit fly can be used to study how mutations associated with the development of diabetes affect the production and secretion of the vital hormone insulin. The advance is due to a new technique devised by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine that allows scientists to measure insulin levels in the insects with extremely high sensitivity and reproducibility. The experimental model is likely to transform the field of diabetes research by bringing the staggering power of fruit fly genetics, honed over 100 years of research, to bear on the devastating condition that affects millions of Americans. Until now, scientists wishing to study the effect of specific mutations on insulin had to rely on the laborious, lengthy and expensive genetic engineering of laboratory mice or other mammals.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140807145736.htm

Computer models helping unravel the science of life? How cells of the fruit fly react to changes in the environment

Scientists have developed a sophisticated computer modelling simulation to explore how cells of the fruit fly react to changes in the environment. The research, published today in the science journal Cell, is part of an on-going study at The Universities of Manchester and Sheffield that is investigating how external environmental factors impact on health and disease… Flies are able to develop normally across a wide range of temperatures and it is not understood how this is achieved… Baron explains that there are wider implications for understanding human health and disease: "Many different types of signal control normal development but when some of these signals are mis-activated they can result in the formation of tumours." "What we've learnt from studying the flies" said Baron, "is that some communication signals can arise in different ways and this means that, in cancer, mis-activation of these signals can also occur by different routes. This is important because it can help us to understand how to stop mis-activation from occurring."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522123505.htm

Body clock and its biological impact: Fruit fly research to provide new insight

New research at the University of Southampton into how animals keep time through their internal circadian rhythms could help us understand why we sleep and how we cope with jet lag. Biological scientist Dr Herman Wijnen uses the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as an experimental model as the molecular and cellular 'clock' mechanisms of insects closely resemble those of mammals, including humans. As these biological clock systems not only control sleep, but also influence functions such as blood pressure and metabolic rate, they could give us greater insight into many medical conditions.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140523094158.htm

How the Fly Flies: Scientists Discover Gene Switch Responsible for Flight Muscle Formation

These results (understanding the gene that regulates fly flight muscles) could be medically important. "Human body muscles do not have Spalt and are hardly regulated by tension," Frank Schnorrer explains. "But the human cardiac muscle builds Spalt and the tension inside the ventricle influences the heartbeat intensity. Whether Spalt plays a role in heartbeat regulation, is not yet known and remains to be investigated."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111117081341.htm

Flies offer insight into human metabolic disease

Galactosemia is a metabolic disease resulting from an inherited defect that prevents the proper metabolism of galactose, a sugar commonly found in dairy products, like milk. Exposure of affected people to galactose, can damage most of their organ systems and can be fatal. The ability to study the disease is limited by a lack of animal models. New information suggests that similarities between humans and flies may provide scientists with useful clues.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-06/tcob-foi052610.php

A fly's tiny brain may hold huge human benefits

Before swatting at one of those pesky flies that come out as the days lengthen and the temperature rises, one should probably think twice. A University of Missouri researcher has found, through the study of Drosophila (a type of fruit fly), that by manipulating levels of certain compounds associated with the “circuitry” of the brain, key genes related to memory can be isolated and tested. The results of the study may benefit human patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease and could eventually lead to discoveries in the treatment of depression.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-03/uom-aft032108.php

Tumor suppressor gene in flies may provide insights for human brain tumors
Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore have found a tumor-suppressing protein in the fly's brain, with a counterpart in mammals, that can apparently prevent brain tumors from forming.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-06/dumc-tsg062209.php

Fruit flies soar as lab model, drug screen for the deadliest of human brain cancers
Fruit flies and humans share most of their genes, including 70 percent of all known human disease genes… researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies transformed the fruit fly into a laboratory model for an innovative study of gliomas, the most common malignant brain tumors… Better models for research into human gliomas are urgently needed. .. "Fruit flies possess homologs of many relevant human genes including EGFR, Ras, and PI-3K," explains postdoctoral researcher and first author Renee Read, who spearheaded the project. "We developed the Drosophila model to figure out how these genes specifically regulate brain tumor pathogenesis and to discover new ways to attack these tumors.”… In flies, I can test hundreds of genes every week."
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-02/si-ffs021109.php

'Biological Clock' Could Be a Key to Better Health, Longer Life
If you aren't getting a good, consistent and regular night's sleep, a new study suggests it could reduce your ability to handle oxidative stress, cause impacts to your health, increase motor and neurological deterioration, speed aging and ultimately cut short your life. That is, if your "biological clock" genes work the same way as those of a fruit fly. And they probably do.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301141854.htm

Using insects to test for drug safety

Insects such as fruit flies (Drosophila), Greater Wax Moths (Galleria) and a type of Hawkmoth (Manduca) can be used to test the efficacy of new antimicrobial drugs or to judge how virulent fungal pathogens are. It is now routine practice to use insect larvae to perform initial testing of new drugs and then to use mice for confirmation tests. As well as reducing by up to 90% the number of mice required, this method of testing is quicker as tests with insects yield results in 48 hours whereas tests with mice usually take 4-6 weeks.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-09/sfgm-uit090309.php

Unique world of bugs

As recently as last year (2008), scientists discovered that the tiny heart of a fruit fly known as Drosophila can be used as an excellent model system to study many of the genes associated with human heart disease. Use of the common honey bee as a model is allowing scientists to explore the factors responsible for conditions such as progeria, a rare genetic disorder in which the ageing process is accelerated. Importantly, the potential application of these intriguing insect-sourced factors and processes could have an impact on the ageing process for us all.
http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,,25502563-5018950,00.html

In Journey from Maggot to Fruit Fly, a Clue About Cancer Metastasis

Scientists trying to understand how cancer cells invade healthy tissue have used the fruit fly's metamorphosis from maggot to flying insect as a guide to identify a key molecular signal that may be involved in both processes. At a glance, the change from crawling maggot to flittering fruit fly seems a long way from the search for new treatments or cures for human health. But there are good reasons scientists study the fruit fly. Many processes in fruit flies are very similar to those in people, only simpler and thus much more approachable to the probing eyes of scientists. In the case of cancer, the action in fruit flies allows scientists to take a close look at molecular signals that may be involved in both development and disease. "The principles that govern how organs are made in a fruit fly and in a person are more similar than most people ever believed," said Dirk Bohmann, Ph.D., professor of Biomedical Genetics and the leader of the team. "Many of the same signals that control the growth and organization of fruit fly organs control similar processes in people. If we can understand such signaling in fruit flies, it will help us understand what is happening in people, to try to prevent or stop diseases like cancer…
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100119121208.htm

From fruit fly wings to heart failure. Why Not(ch)?

Almost a century after it was discovered in fruit flies with notches in their wings, the Notch signalling pathway may come to play an important role in the recovery from heart attacks. http://www.embl.de/aboutus/communication_outreach/media_relations/2009/091210_Monterotondo/index.html

Rutgers-Camden’s Freezable Fruit Fly Could Extend Organ Donor Shelf Life

The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster does boast a powerful genetic system making it an ideal organism to test a cool new discovery: how an enzyme regulates body energy levels. Shutting off this molecular thermostat could result in a newfound cold tolerance that has multiple applications, including extending the 24-hour window donated organs now have for optimum use.
“The goal is to make human cells survive on ice. Twenty-four hours on ice is pushing it and many people die waiting.
http://news.rutgers.edu/medrel/news-releases/2010/08/rutgers-camden2019s-20100818

Fly Cells Flock Together, Follow the Light

Scientists at Johns Hopkins report using a laser beam to activate a protein that makes a cluster of fruit fly cells act like a school of fish turning in social unison, following the lead of the one stimulated with light. The study of this unexpected cell movement, reported May 16 in Nature Cell Biology, holds potential importance for understanding embryonic development, wound healing and tumor metastasis - the process by which tumor cells acquire the ability to invade surrounding tissues and migrate long distances to colonize lymph nodes, bones and other distant organs.
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/Press_releases/2010/06_17_10.html

Flies Reveal Kidney Stones In-The-Making

Research on kidney stones in fruit flies may hold the key to developing a treatment that could someday stop the formation of kidney stones in humans, a team from Mayo Clinic and the University of Glasgow found. ( http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120323134535.htm) "If we can get to them before they form, we'd cut way back on the number of people needing surgery every year, which is our goal."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130407090734.htm

Fate in fly sensory organ precursor cells could explain human immune disorder

In an article that appears in the current issue of Nature Cell Biology, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine report that a new finding about the Notch signaling pathway in sensory organ precursor cells in the fruit fly could explain the mystery behind an immunological disorder called Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-06/bcom-fif061709.php

Fruit fly steps in to fight human disease


"By putting mutant genes from human patients into fruit flies, we've created the first ever fly model for this kind of neuromuscular disease," says Albena Jordanova. "Now we have the opportunity to unravel the molecular mechanism behind Charcot-Marie-Tooth, as well as to start looking for substances with therapeutic value”… Charcot-Marie-Tooth is a hereditary disorder of the peripheral nervous system that affects 1 in 2,500 people worldwide.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-06/vfi-ffs061909.php

Gene Critical to Sense of Smell in Fruit Fly Identified


The corresponding gene in mammals and humans, called Dlx, is known to be important in the sense of smell. The Dlx gene has also been implicated in autism and epilepsy. By studying how distal-less works in fruit fly neurons, the scientists also hope to expand understanding of Dlx.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120120010449.htm

Sex More Likely for Female Flies With Promise of Food

The study also potentially raises issues for some ageing research. Studies of the genetics of ageing in animals such as fruit flies and mice have suggested how it might be possible to extend lifespan. People have begun to consider whether it might be possible to apply these results to human health and development treatments for longer and healthier lives… 'Understanding the mechanisms of postponed ageing in animal studies is likely to provide major advances the development of clinical interventions to improve healthy lifespan in humans in the future. However, it is important to think beyond simple connections between physiology and lifespan, and consider how any such intervention might affect behaviour as well,' he says.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100905165004.htm

Insect Glands May Illuminate Human Fertilization Process

The gene that controls the development of these glands in fruit flies provides important information about gland development in all insects, as well as potential clues to similar human reproductive glands… "The fruit fly work in our paper provides a method for studying the cellular physiology governing this reproductive secretion process more quickly, cheaply and effectively than we had previously thought possible." (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120503125816.htm)
New research from Carnegie's Allan Spradling and Jianjun Sun has shed light on how successful ovulation and fertilization are brought about by studying these processes in fruit flies… This research has a possible connection to one of the most common forms of ovarian cancer, which was recently shown to derive from abnormalities in reproductive tract secretory cells.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130417114101.htm

Reproductive Tract Secretions Elicit Ovulation

Drinking excess alcohol during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) due to the damaging effects of alcohol on a developing baby's brain… (Scientists) decided to study FAS using the fruit fly, a commonly used organism in biological research. Their results establish a new system for studying how alcohol causes harmful effects during development and open the door to further genetic and molecular studies of FAS. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110208091418.htm

Pregnant, Constipated and Bloated? Fly Poo May Tell You Why

Clues about how the human gut helps regulate our appetite have come from a most unusual source -- fruit fly faeces. Scientists at the University of Cambridge are using the fruit fly to help understand aspects of human metabolism, including why pregnant women suffer from bloating and constipation, and even the link between a low calorie diet and longevity… The research also provides tantalising clues about the link between calorie intake and longevity.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110104133907.htm

Fruit Fly Intestine May Hold Secret to Fountain of Youth: Long-Lived Fruit Flies Offer Clues to Slowing Human Aging and Fighting Disease

Now, a new study in fruit flies is helping to explain why such minimal diets are linked to longevity and offering clues to the effects of aging on stem cell behavior… "Fruit flies and humans have a lot more in common than most people think," says Leanne Jones, an associate professor in Salk's Laboratory of Genetics and a lead scientist on the project. "There is a tremendous amount of similarity between a human small intestine and the fruit fly intestine."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111102161156.htm

Studying space travel with fruit flies

(2006) To help scientists study what happens to astronauts' health in space, 100 fruit flies will buzz along for the ride… Hoping to figure out what the less obvious health risks of traveling in space are, the NASA researchers are preparing fruit flies for extraterrestrial travel. Since they have an immune response system similar to that of humans and don't demand much space or nutrition, they are well-fit for a space experiment, NASA says. ( http://news.cnet.com/2100-11397_3-6086654.html) Fruit flies are space pioneers. They were the first animals flown in space, inside a U.S. V2 rocket in 1946 to assess the effects of radiation. Fruit flies have returned to space regularly aboard Russian and U.S. missions ever since.
(http://www.space.com/2541-flies-stuff-shuttle-experiment-explore-astronaut-immunity.html) (2012) The new frontier in heart research is sending fruit flies into space to study the effects of weightlessness on their teeny tiny hearts. Spaceflight, apparently, is rough on astronauts hearts, and researchers want to know more about the risks to astronauts who are sent on long space missions. ( http://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2012/11/29/fruit-flies-in-space-researchers-hope-to-learn-more-about-the-heart-through-experiment/) (2013) One year from now, in a lab far, far away, a group of fruit flies could unknowingly be helping to make long-term space travel safer. An experiment led by local researchers will use fruit flies to study how the lack of gravity and changes in radiation in space affect the cardiovascular system of humans.
http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Studying-space-travel-with-fruit-flies-4171653.php

Addressing Pain and Disease On the Fly: How Fruit Flies Can Teach Us About Curing Chronic Pain and Halting Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Studies of a protein that fruit flies use to sense heat and chemicals may someday provide solutions to human pain and the control of disease-spreading mosquitoes … Untreatable chronic pain and insect-borne diseases are two major human health problems," says Garrity. "When you think about basic research translating into treatments to help people, work in these areas has tremendous potential for easing human misery."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111206151540.htm

Carbon Nanoparticles Toxic To Adult Fruit Flies But Benign To Young

Carbon nanoparticles are widely used in medicine, electronics, optics, materials science and architecture, but their health and environmental impact is not fully understood. In a series of experiments, researchers at Brown University sought to determine how carbon nanoparticles would affect fruit flies — from the very young to adults.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090807103921.htm

Spotting a Trend in the Genes: Three Genes That Cause Cancer and Disease in Humans Also 'Paint' Spots On Butts of Fruit Flies

Thomas Werner, assistant professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, and his PhD student, Komal Kumar Bollepogu Raja, have discovered that three genes that cause cancer and disease in humans also "paint" the spots on the fly's body. This discovery could enable researchers to study how those genes work in fruit flies and apply that knowledge to treating cancer in people… They've made strong connections between developed spots and three genes, all of which have cancer- and disease-causing counterparts in humans. Thus, the abdominal spots of this tiny fruit fly could be a great model for understanding genetic pathways that cause cancer… The genes that seem to paint the pigment spots on the abdomen are important for other reasons, Werner says. Some of them have additional roles in defining the head-to-tail axis in animals and are crucial for the proper development of the vertebrae in humans. If these genes misbehave during the development of the human embryo, gross disabilities or embryonic death will occur…"Our work focuses on understanding how the cancer- and disease-causing genes in the fruit fly are regulated, and how they regulate their downstream target genes." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121012143746.htm

Fruit Fly Research May Lead To Better Understanding Of Human Heart Disease

Researchers at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) have shown in both fruit flies and humans that genes involved in embryonic heart development are also integral to adult heart function … Dr. Bodmer's lab has discovered that in the fruit fly Drosophila, interactions between cardiac nmr genes (TBX20 in humans) and other transcription factors, are involved in regulating cardiac performance, rhythm and heart muscle structure…"These studies demonstrate that Drosophila has potential as a model system for exploring the genetics underlying human heart disease and for identifying new candidate genes that potentially cause heart disease," said Dr. Bodmer.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081202115652.htm

Fruit Flies With Better Sex Lives Live Longer

"These data may provide the first direct evidence that aging and physiology are influenced by how the brain processes expectations and rewards," Pletcher says. "In this case, sexual rewards specifically promoted healthy aging." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131128141258.htm

NEUROLOGICAL

Neural circuit rotates a fly's internal compass

After a foraging foray, many insects return to the hive, nest, or colony. This undertaking requires an animal to keep track of its position in space, just as it would for a human commuting home or a rat in a maze. Scientists are just beginning to understand the mechanisms by which bug brains, or any brains for that matter, accomplish this. Previous work with fruit flies identified a set of neurons that act like a compass needle, producing a rotating signal that can be used for navigation. Unlike a conventional compass, whose physical needle points towards magnetic north, the activity of these neurons represents the angle in which the fly is headed relative to landmarks in its environment, or relative to its previous heading if it is navigating in the dark…"This similarity suggests our findings likely have relevance for understanding spatial cognition in larger, mammalian brains -- including, perhaps, our own," Maimon says.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170523083240.htm

First direct evidence for synaptic plasticity in fruit fly brain

Scientists have resolved a decades-long debate about how the brain is modified when an animal learns. Using newly developed tools for manipulating specific populations of neurons, the researchers have for the first time observed direct evidence of synaptic plasticity – changes in the strength of connections between neurons – in the fruit fly brain while flies are learning…”That mechanistic level of understanding is going to be really important,” he adds. “It’s often at the level of molecules that you see really strong connections between Drosophila and other species, including humans.”
http://www .sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151202132749.htm

Fruit flies: Brain traffic jams that can disappear in 30 seconds

Scientists have found that cellular blockages, the molecular equivalent to traffic jams, in nerve cells of the insect's brain can form and dissolve in 30 seconds or less. The findings, presented in the journal   PLOS ONE , could provide scientists much-needed clues to better identify and treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140606184847.htm

The brain of the fly - a high-speed computer

(S)ince the fly is the animal model in which motion perception has been studied in most detail, the scientists were all the more determined to prize (sic) these secrets from the insect's brain. A further incentive is the fact that, albeit the number of nerve cells in the fly is comparatively small, they are highly specialized and process the image flow with great precision while the fly is in flight. Flies can therefore process a vast amount of information about proper motion and movement in their environment in real time - a feat that no computer, and certainly none the size of a fly's brain, can hope to match. So it's no wonder that deciphering this system is a worth-while undertaking.
http://www.mpg.de/english/illustrationsDocumentation/documentation/
pressReleases/2010/pressRelease20100708/

How to Measure Attention Span of a Fly: Implications for ADHD, Autism in Humans

An Australian-German team of scientists at Freie Universität and the Queensland Brain Institute in Brisbane, Australia, has found a way to measure the attention span of a fly. The findings could lead to further advances in the understanding of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism in humans.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126084127.htm

'Fly guy' makes memory breakthrough

A new recruit to the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, Bolduc has shown that genetically disrupting a specific gene called FMR1 in a fruit fly's brain will wipe out its long-term memory. Bolduc has also found a class of drugs that helps fruit flies with this disrupted gene to regain their memories. The news is significant for humans, because FMR1 may malfunction in people with intellectual disabilities like Fragile X syndrome, and there are currently no clinically available treatments.
http://www.biologynews.net/archives/2008/12/10/fly_guy _makes_memory_breakthrough.html

Fly eyes help researchers 'see' new proteins involved in memory

With more than 1,500 eyes, not much escapes the fruit fly's sight. Now, a new research report in the journal GENETICS describes how researchers from the United States and Ireland used those eyes to "see" new proteins necessary for memory. In addition to shedding light on this critical neurological process, the study also provides information on a form of mental retardation in humans… this area of research holds tremendous promise for millions or people with neurological diseases and disabilities, as well as for those with learning disorders."
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-08/gsoa-feh082409.php

Fruit fly discovery generates buzz about brain-damaging disorder in children

Johns Hopkins researchers have used fruit flies to gain new insights into a brain-damaging disorder afflicting children. Their work suggests a possible therapy for the disease, for which there is currently no treatment. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/jhmi-ffd112408.php

Startled flies may provide insight into ADHD

Intriguingly, the hyper-reactivity to environmental stimuli seen in the flies with the DopR mutation is similar to some of the symptoms seen in humans with ADHD, which has also been linked to dopamine. The genetic basis of emotional behavior is significant because it is believed that abnormalities in such behaviors may underlie psychiatric disorders. Further, it is important to note that Drosophila shares most of its genes in common with humans and also has many of the same brain chemicals that have been implicated in psychiatric disorders, including dopamine.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-11/cp-sfm111909.php

Fruit fly neuron can reprogram itself after injury

Studies with fruit flies have shown that the specialized nerve cells called neurons can rebuild themselves after injury.
These results, potentially relevant to research efforts to improve the treatment of patients with traumatic nerve damage or neurodegenerative disease, were presented at the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) 49th Annual Meeting, Dec. 5-9, 2009 in San Diego.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-12/asfc-ffn112609.php

Fruit Fly Gene Could Unlock the Mysteries of Human Memory

A breakthrough finding in the common fruit fly could help explain how humans learn and remember -- or why some suffer from conditions that limit both capacities.
Of course, animal studies don't always offer a clear parallel to human health. But in this case, fruit fly genes have already been closely tied to those of human subjects. Indeed, scientists already know that fruit flies and people share a gene -- called dunce -- implicated in vulnerability to schizophrenia. A better understanding of how learning and memory work could, scientists hope, improve insight into diseases like Alzheimer's, as well as learning disabilities.
http://www.aolnews.com/surge-desk/article/fruit-fly-gene-could-unlock-
the-mysteries-of-human-memory/19628803

Rescuing Fruit Flies from Alzheimer’s Disease

Investigators have found that fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) males -- in which the activity of an Alzheimer’s disease protein is reduced by 50 percent -- show impairments in learning and memory as they age. What’s more, the researchers were able to prevent the age-related deficits by treating the flies with drugs such as lithium, or by genetic manipulations that reduced nerve-cell signaling. “The results from our study suggest a new route to explore for the treatment of familial Alzheimer’s disease and possibly the more common sporadic forms of Alzheimer’s disease,” notes Jongens. “They also reveal that proper presenilin activity levels are required to maintain normal cognitive capabilities during aging.”
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2010/07/fruit-flies-alzheimers/

Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features Drosophila neurobiology methods
Since the early days of the 20th century and Thomas Hunt Morgan's famous "Fly Room" at Columbia University, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has been at the forefront of biological research. The powerful arsenal of experimental methods developed for this model organism is now being used to tackle one of the great scientific challenges of a new century: understanding the nervous system. The larval Drosophila brain has been a valuable model for investigating the role of stem cells in development.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-07/cshl-csh070110.php

Memory Loss With Aging Not Necessarily Permanent, Animal Study Suggests

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have shown in animal models that the loss of memory that comes with aging is not necessarily a permanent thing…(A study) took a close look at memory and memory traces in the brains of both young and old fruit flies… "This study shows that once the appropriate neurons are identified in people, in principle at least, one could potentially develop drugs to hit those neurons and rescue those memories affected by the aging process."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120402185349.htm

When Nerve Cells Stop Speaking: Neuroscientists Decode Important Mechanism of Nerve Cell Communication

By researching fruit flies, neuroscientists of the NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence in Berlin were able to gain a better understanding of a meaningful mechanism of neuronal communication. They demonstrated the importance of a specific protein for signal transmission between nerve cells. This is of high significance as certain people with autism -- a functional development disturbances of the brain -- suffer from genetic defects in this protein. Therefore the findings could improve the possibility of treating this disease more effectively… The neuroscientists used the fruit fly as a model organism. Thanks to the simple setup of its brain and synapses it is ideal for experimental examinations.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111221105645.htm

Partnership of Genes Affects the Brain's Development

The human brain consists of approximately one hundred billion nerve cells. Each of these cells needs to connect to specific other cells during the brain's development in order to form a fully functional organism. Yet how does a nerve cell know where it should grow and which cells to contact? Scientists of the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried have now shown that growing nerve cells realise when they've reached their target area in the fly brain thanks to the interaction of two genes. Similar mechanisms are also likely to play a role during the development of the vertebrate brain and could thus be important for a better understanding of certain developmental disorders… For their investigation, the neurobiologists analyzed the function of genes that play a role in the development of the visual system of the fruit fly…"We assume that very similar mechanisms play a role also in other organisms -- including humans," explains Takashi Suzuki, lead author of the study. "We are now a good way into understanding how to manipulate the cells in such a way that they are certain to reach their target area." This knowledge would be an important foundation for eventual therapies of developmental disorders based upon a misguided growth of nerve cells. The knowledge may also help in the guidance of regenerating nerve cells back to their old connection sites.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110213162735.htm

The Fabric for Weaving Memory: To Establish Long-Term Memory, Neurons Have to Synthesize New Proteins

The details of memory formation are still largely unknown… To study memory formation, the researchers at the IMP looked at the sexual behavior of flies. After copulation, female flies loose interest in the courtship advances of males. Male flies must learn -- by trial and error -- that only virgin females are receptive. The key to telling them apart is their smell. Researchers at the IMP have built tiny "trainig camps" to test the memory of fruit flies. In these devices, male flies are exposed to mated females for a defined period of time. Depending on the length of the training session, the resulting memory lasts for several hours to several days… The mechanism by which the two proteins interact in the formation of memory might turn out to be a basic principle for members of the CPEB family. Since these proteins are highly conserved among animals including humans, the implications could be far reaching.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121023100944.htm

Researchers Identify 'Switch' for Long-Term Memory

The team from the Interdisciplinary Center for Neurosciences (IZN) measured nuclear calcium levels with a fluorescent protein in the association and learning centres of the insect's brain to investigate any changes that might occur during the learning process. Their work on the fruit fly revealed brief surges in calcium levels in the cell nuclei of certain neurons during learning. It was this calcium signal that researchers identified as the trigger of a genetic programme that controls the production of "memory… This cellular switch may no longer work as well in the elderly, which Bading believes may explain the decline in memory typically observed in old age. Thus, the discoveries by the Heidelberg neurobiologists open up new perspectives for the treatment of age- and illness-related changes in brain functions.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130708143055.htm

Scientists Pinpoint Proteins Vital to Long-Term Memory

The findings stem from experiments probing the role of Wnt signaling components in olfactory memory formation in Drosophila, the common fruit fly -- a widely used doppelgänger for human memory studies.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130912143317.htm

New System to Study Trigger of Cell Death in Nervous System Developed

Researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a new model system to study a receptor protein that controls cell death in both humans and fruit flies, a discovery that could lead to a better understanding of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's… With an aging population, neurodegenerative diseases have become a major public health concern, Lehmann said…"Our model system for studying programmed cell death is the salivary glands in the fly larvae, which are comparatively large organs that completely disappear during metamorphosis," he said. "Disposal of this tissue by programmed cell death provides us with a very nice system to study the genes that are required for the process. We can use it to identify genes that are required for programmed cell death in humans, as well.".. A mid-career investigator in the Center for Protein Structure and Function at the University of Arkansas, Lehmann has studied programmed cell death in Drosophila melanogaster for more than a decade. In 2007, Lehmann's research group discovered an important mechanism that regulates the destruction of larval fruit fly salivary glands that could point the way to understanding programmed cell death in the human immune system.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130403121943.htm

New Clues to Memory Formation May Help Better Treat Dementia

The significance of using fruit flies is that while their brain structure is much simpler with far fewer neurons, the mushroom body is analogous to the perirhinal cortex in humans, which serves the same function of sensory integration and learning. This simplicity allows scientists to gain insights into how memories are acquired, stored and retrieved. "Drosophila represents the Goldilocks principle of neural research, with sufficient behavioral complexity, while maintaining a huge advantage in neural simplicity," Roman said. "The complex behaviors allow us to examine many behavioral processes like learning, attention, aggression and addiction-like behaviors, while the simplicity allows us to dissect the crucial neural activities down to single cells. Additionally, Drosophila has the most powerful genetic toolkit available for behavioral experimentation. In using these tools, we are genetically identifying the molecules necessary to perform these behaviors and dissecting the logic of the neural circuits that allow for changes in behavior to occur." The pair says all their experience to date suggests the molecules and logic will translate to most animals, including humans, leading to a more complete understanding of how memories form in humans, both at the level of molecules and through the activity of neural circuits.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127122413.htm

Long-Term Memory Disrupted Genetically In Fruit Flies; Drug Found To Help Them Regain Memories

Dr. Francois Bolduc keeps more than 300,000 fruit flies in a basement laboratory, where he manipulates their genes and then tests their mental abilities… A new recruit to the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, Bolduc has shown that genetically disrupting a specific gene called FMR1 in a fruit fly's brain will wipe out its long-term memory. Bolduc has also found a class of drugs that helps fruit flies with this disrupted gene to regain their memories. The news is significant for humans, because FMR1 may malfunction in people with intellectual disabilities like Fragile X syndrome, and there are currently no clinically available treatments. Fragile X syndrome is the most common cause of genetically defined developmental delays in humans, affecting 1 in 4,000 males and 1 in 8,000 females. Children with Fragile X syndrome may have learning and memory problems, epilepsy and autism. "We know that 87 per cent of the genes found in human mental retardation have homologs in fruit flies, so we're confident that we're on to something here," said Bolduc, whose research was recently published in Nature Neuroscience… A well-functioning FMR1 gene is thought to help "quiet" new protein synthesis in the brain, enabling normal mental performance. After four years of research, Bolduc was not only able to demonstrate the cognitive deficiencies of fruit flies without a FMR1 gene, he was also able to show that adding more of the Fragile X protein than is normal in a fruit fly's brain also debilitated its mental capacity. He also identified the pathways that interfered with the function of the protein, and he determined where in the flies' brains the protein functioned. Perhaps most significantly, he enhanced memory performance in Fragile X flies by pharmaceutically decreasing protein synthesis. Fragile X flies that were fed drugs that reduced the production of protein in the brain remembered to avoid the smell associated with a shock almost as much as the normal flies. The next step, he said, is to translate the findings into the creation of drugs to treat the condition in human patients… Bolduc also believes the new knowledge of the FMR1 gene will likely apply to a number of other syndromes involving reduced cognitive function. "This type of brain research is vital in the future," he said. "The FMR1 gene is complicated, and a lot of things can go wrong with it. We've answered a few basic questions, but there is still a lot to be discovered."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081210131044.htm

Fruit Flies Bred Without Neurobeachin Protein to Facilitate Study of Nervous System Diseases in Humans

In experiments on the brain of the fruit fly Drosophila, scientists at Freie Universität Berlin have advanced the research on brain function and diseases in humans …. In the future such animal models could be of particular importance for the understanding of certain diseases in humans, such as autism… Up to now there were no animal models suitable for understanding the significance of neurobeachin proteins in the functioning of the nervous system, for example in memory formation.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121029081352.htm

The Discerning Fruit Fly: Linking Brain-Cell Activity and Behavior in Smell Recognition

Behind the common expression "you can't compare apples to oranges" lies a fundamental question of neuroscience: How does the brain recognize that apples and oranges are different? A group of neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has published new research that provides some answers. In the fruit fly, the ability to distinguish smells lies in a region of the brain called the mushroom body (MB). Prior research has demonstrated that the MB is associated with learning and memory, especially in relation to the sense of smell, also known as olfaction… These intriguing new findings are part of a broad effort in contemporary neuroscience to determine how the brain, easily the most complex organ in any animal, manages to make a mass of raw sensory data intelligible to the individual -- whether a person or a fly -- in order to serve as a basis for making vital decisions…"Being able to do this type of 'mind-reading' means we really understand what signals these activity patterns are sending," says Turner. Ultimately, he and colleagues hope to be able to relate their findings in the fly brain with the operation of the brain in mammals.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130619101640.htm

Short And Long-Term Memories Require Same Gene But In Different Circuits

Why is it that you can instantly recall your own phone number but have to struggle with your mental Rolodex to remember a new number you heard a few moments ago? The two tasks "feel" different because they involve two different types of memory – long-term and short-term, respectively – that are stored very differently in the brain. The same appears to be true across the animal kingdom, even in insects such as the fruit fly. Assistant Professor Josh Dubnau, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and his team have uncovered an important molecular and cellular basis of this difference using the fruit fly as a model… This work will add to the progress that scientists have already made in treating memory deficits in humans with drugs aimed at molecular members of the rutabaga-signaling pathway to enhance its downstream effects.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090817190748.htm

How Memory Is Read out in the Fly Brain: MB-V2 Nerve Cells Enable the Read-Out of Associative Memories

How such associative memories are "read out" in the brain remains one of the great mysteries of modern neurobiology… Fruit flies have the ability to remember. The brain of these minute animals can store different pieces of information and associations and can recall these for a long time. In comparison to the human brain, which boasts about 100 billion cells, the brain of the fruit fly is, of course, a lot smaller. However, many of the basic principles are the same in both species. Thus, the straightforward structure of the fly brain, with its modest hundred thousand cells, enables the scientists to decode processes at their point of origin: in other words, on the individual cell level…"The identification of these cells and the role they play in recalling the contents of the memory are significant milestones on the way to gaining an understanding of how memory guides animal behavior," Tanimoto explains. Perhaps one day, science will thus be able to explain why our brains sometimes get stuck, when trying to call up certain pieces of information. Such knowledge would, for example, be an important prerequisite in the development of drugs to combat certain memory deficiencies.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110708123935.htm

Memory Loss With Aging Not Necessarily Permanent, Animal Study Suggests

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have shown in animal models that the loss of memory that comes with aging is not necessarily a permanent thing… . In the case of the fruit fly, the ability to form memories lasting a few hours (intermediate-term memory) is lost due to age-related impairment of the function of certain neurons. Intriguingly, the scientists found that stimulating those same neurons can reverse these age-related memory defects. "This study shows that once the appropriate neurons are identified in people, in principle at least, one could potentially develop drugs to hit those neurons and rescue those memories affected by the aging process," Davis said. "In addition, the biochemistry underlying memory formation in fruit flies is remarkably conserved with that in humans so that everything we learn about memory formation in flies is likely applicable to human memory and the disorders of human memory."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120402185349.htm

Brain's 'Molecular Memory Switch' Identified

Scientists have identified a key molecule responsible for triggering the chemical processes in our brain linked to our formation of memories. The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Neural Circuits, reveal a new target for therapeutic interventions to reverse the devastating effects of memory loss. The BBSRC-funded research, led by scientists at the University of Bristol, aimed to better understand the mechanisms that enable us to form memories by studying the molecular changes in the hippocampus -- the part of the brain involved in learning… Until now, the question still remained as to what triggers this chemical process in our brain that allows us to learn and form long-term memories. The research team, comprising scientists from the University's School of Physiology and Pharmacology, conducted experiments using the common fruit fly [Drosophila] to analyse and identify the molecular mechanisms behind this switch. Using advanced molecular genetic techniques… Dr James Hodge, the study's lead author, said: "Fruit flies are remarkably compatible for this type of study as they possess similar neuronal function and neural responses to humans. Although small they are very smart, for instance, they can land on the ceiling and detect that the fruit in your fruit bowl has gone off before you can.".. These findings clearly demonstrate that neuronal function of CASK is conserved between flies and human, validating the use of Drosophila to understand CASK function in both the healthy and diseased brain. Mutations in human CASK gene have been associated with neurological and cognitive defects including severe learning difficulties. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130328125226.htm

Flies Remember Smells Better When In A Group Than When Alone

Positive social interactions exist within Drosophila: When in a group, Drosophilaflies have better memory than when they are isolated. Thomas Preat's team at the Laboratoire de Neurobiologie (CNRS / ESPCI ParisTech) has recently highlighted this phenomenon through olfactory memory tests. This work, published in the journal Current Biology on 13 October 2009, has paved the way for new research avenues for understanding the role of social environment on memory modulation and decision making… This work, carried out on   Drosophila, has opened new avenues of research on memory modulation and decision making as a function of the perception of the social environment, emotions or stress.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091025212616.htm

Memories Are Made of This: Uncovering the Key to How We Learn and Remember

New research led by the University of Leicester has revealed new information on the mechanism by which memories are formed. The study in the Department of Cell Physiology and Pharmacology found one of the key proteins involved in the process of memory and learning. The breakthrough study has potential to impact drug design to treat Alzheimer's disease…"This finding is not only interesting in its own right but has important clinical implications. One of the major symptoms of Alzheimer's disease is memory loss. Our study identifies one of the key processes involved in memory and learning and we state in the paper that drugs designed to target the protein identified in our study would be of benefit in treating Alzheimer's disease."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100628101450.htm

New Genetic Marker Makes Fruit Fly a Better Model for Brain Development and Diseases

VIB researchers attached to the K.U. Leuven have improved the fruit fly as model for studying the connections between brain cells. The researchers developed a specific marker for a part of the fly's nerve cell which had previously been difficult to distinguish. Their discovery, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, will not only contribute to gaining a better insight into brain development but also makes the fruit fly into a better model system for studying brain development and brain disorders… In the search for possible solutions to these diseases, one important aspect is to understand how the connections between nerve cells develop. The fruit fly,   Drosophila melanogaster, is an important, low-cost model organism with 60% genetic similarity with humans. The fruit fly plays a significant role in clarifying various neurological processes such as the way our memory works and our sense of smell and in studying particular neurodegenerative diseases.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101112141124.htm

Nanoparticles Hold Promise as Potential Vehicle for Drug Delivery in Brain

In the images of fruit flies, clusters of neurons are all lit up, forming a brightly glowing network of highways within the brain. It's exactly what University at Buffalo researcher Shermali Gunawardena was hoping to see: It meant that ORMOSIL, a novel class of nanoparticles, had successfully penetrated the insects' brains. And even after long-term exposure, the cells and the flies themselves remained unharmed. The particles, which are tagged with fluorescent proteins, hold promise as a potential vehicle for drug delivery…"We saw that after feeding these nanoparticles in the fruit fly larvae, the ORMOSIL was going mainly into the guts and skin. But over time, in adult flies, you could see it in the brain. These results are really fascinating because these particles do not show any toxic effects on the whole organism or the neuronal cells," said Gunawardena, an assistant professor of biological sciences and a researcher in UB's Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120109132752.htm

Administering Natural Substance Spermidin Stopped Dementia in Fruit Flies

Age-induced memory impairment can be suppressed by administration of the natural substance spermidin. This was found in a recent study conducted by Prof. Dr. Stephan Sigrist from Freie Universität Berlin and the Neurocure Cluster of Excellence and Prof. Dr. Frank Madeo from Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz. Both biologists, they were able to show that the endogenous substance spermidine triggers a cellular cleansing process, which is followed by an improvement in the memory performance of older fruit flies… Feeding the fruit flies spermidin significantly reduced the amount of protein aggregates in their brains, and their memories improved to juvenile levels. This can be measured because flies can learn under classical Pavovian conditioning and adjust their behavior accordingly. In humans, memory capacity decreases beginning around the age of 50. This loss accelerates with increasing age. Due to increasing life expectancy, age-related memory impairment is expected to increase drastically. The spermidine concentration increases with age in flies as in humans. If it were possible to delay the onset of age-related dementia by giving individuals spermidin as a food supplement, it would be a great breakthrough for individuals and for society. Patient studies are the next step for Sigrist and Madeo.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130901153919.htm

Study Shows How Neurons Enable Us to Know Smells We Like and Dislike, Whether to Approach or Retreat

What underlying biological mechanisms account for our seemingly instant, almost unconscious ability to determine how attractive (or repulsive) a particular smell is? It's a very important question for scientists who are trying to address the increasingly acute problem of obesity: we need to understand much better than we now do the biological processes underlying food selection and preferences. New research by neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), published in   The Journal of Neuroscience, reveals a set of cells in the fruit fly brain that respond specifically to food odors.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007151737.htm

SLEEP

No rest for weary fruit flies

Not so long after scientists discovered that fruit flies sleep, Paul Shaw of Washington University in St. Louis and his colleagues bred a strain of Drosophila melanogaster to have many of the characteristics, and complications, of insomnia in people. Shaw’s team bred 60 generations of fruit flies, selecting for flies that slept the shortest amount of time. The resulting insomniac fruit flies may help scientists find genetic roots of the sleep disorder, the team reports in the June 3 Journal of Neuroscience.
http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/44292/title/No_rest_for_weary_fruit_flies

Fruit fly (genetics)

Fruit flies are a good model for looking at sleep behaviour in humans as they exhibit many of the hallmarks of mammalian sleep. For example they sleep deeply at night from which they're difficult to rouse and they have a preferred sleeping posture. If kept awake through the night, they exhibit tiredness the next day; if fed caffeine, they stay awake, and they become drowsy if given antihistamines. The fruit fly's genome has also been fully mapped, so wide ranging genetic studies are possible.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-09/uol-ffs092709.php

Sleep Switch Found in Fruit Flies

"This is exciting because this induced sleep state so far appears to be very similar to spontaneous sleep," says Paul Shaw, PhD, associate professor of neurobiology. "That means we can manipulate these cells to explore a whole new realm of questions about the purposes of sleep. Such studies might one day lead us to more natural ways of inducing sleep in humans."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110623141325.htm

New Ways Sleep-Wake Patterns Are Like Clockwork

Researchers at New York University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered new ways neurons work together to ease the transition between sleep and wakefulness. Their findings, which appear in the journal Neuron, provide additional insights into sleep-wake patterns and offer methods to explore what may disrupt them. Their study explored the biological, or circadian, clocks of Drosophila fruit flies, which are commonly used for research in this area.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120523133055.htm

Gene Involved in Neurodegeneration Keeps Clock Running: Scientists Identify Another Gene Important to Morning Wake-Up Call

In a study of the common fruit fly, the researchers found the gene, called Ataxin-2, keeps the clock responsible for sleeping and waking on a 24-hour rhythm. Without the gene, the rhythm of the fruit fly's sleep-wake cycle is disturbed, making waking up on a regular schedule difficult for the fly. The discovery is particularly interesting because mutations in the human Ataxin-2 gene are known to cause a rare disorder called spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) and also contribute to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. People with SCA suffer from sleep abnormalities before other symptoms of the disease appear… The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is a model organism for scientists studying the sleep-wake cycle because the fly's genes are highly conserved with the genes of humans…
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516142658.htm

Drowsy Drosophila shed light on sleep and hunger

Sleep, hunger and metabolism are closely related, but scientists are still struggling to understand how they interact…“Our paper makes a significant step into tying all these things together,” says Donelson, “and that is extremely important down the road to our understanding of human health.”
http://www.brandeis.edu/now/2013/october/drosophila.html

Genes Important To Sleep Discovered

The study, published online in Nature Genetics, examined the sleep and activity patterns of 40 different wild-derived lines of Drosophila melanogaster – one of the model animals used in scientific studies. It found that, on average, male fruit flies slept longer than females; males slept more during the day than females; and males were more active when awake than females. Females, in turn, tended to have more frequent bouts of sleep, and thus were disrupted more from sleep, than males.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090222142149.htm

Gene Affecting the Ability to Sleep Discovered in Fruit Flies

"This suggests that reduced sleep can be 'uncoupled' from reduced lifespan, supporting the idea that some disruptions of sleep do not affect overall health, at least as far as lifespan is concerned," Stavropoulos says. Although flies and humans would appear to have little in common when it comes to lifestyle, scientists say that the mechanisms of sleep and wakefulness are likely to be quite similar. "Sleep is a fundamental behavior in all animals, and it is poorly understood from a scientific standpoint," says Stavropoulos. "This work gives us several new clues about how sleep is controlled at the molecular level, and could prove useful in understanding and treating sleep disorders." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120220211013.htm

Flies With Restless Legs Syndrome Point to a Genetic Cause

"Although widely prevalent, RLS is a disorder whose pathophysiological basis remains very poorly understood," said Subhabrata Sanyal of Emory University School of Medicine. "The major significance of our study is to highlight the fact that there might be a genetic basis for RLS. Understanding the function of these genes also helps to understand and diagnose the disease and may offer more focused therapeutic options that are currently limited to very general approaches.".. In fact, flies need sleep just like humans do, and their sleep patterns are influenced by the same kinds of brain chemistry.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120531135635.htm

Unusual Comparison Nets New Sleep Loss Marker

For years, Paul Shaw, PhD, a researcher at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has used what he learns in fruit flies to look for markers of sleep loss in humans. Shaw reverses the process in a new paper, taking what he finds in humans back to the flies and gaining new insight into humans as a result: identification of a human gene that is more active after sleep deprivation… Shaw and his colleagues plan to use the information they are gaining to create a panel of tests for sleep loss. The tests may one day help assess a person's risk of falling asleep at the wheel of a car or in other dangerous contexts…"Normally we would do additional human experiments to verify these links," Shaw says. "But those studies can be quite expensive, so we thought we'd test the connections in flies first.".. "We will need more time to figure out how useful this particular marker will be for detecting sleep deprivation in humans," Shaw says. "In the meantime, we're going to continue jumping between our flies and humans to maximize our insights." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130503230415.htm

When It Comes To Sleep Research, Fruit Flies And People Make Unlikely Bedfellows

This study is significant because the sleep-regulating enzyme analyzed in this research is one of only a few possible drug targets for circadian problems that can lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), insomnia, and possibly some cancers…In addition to showing that this drug target has similar circadian functions in flies and humans, the study confirms that fruit flies are attractive and viable animal models for circadian research because their circadian "machinery" is remarkably similar to that in humans and they can be bred easily and rapidly… According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25 percent of the U.S. population report not getting enough sleep on occasion, while almost 10 percent experience chronic insomnia. Insufficient sleep is associated with several diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. It also is responsible for accidents that cause substantial injury and disability each year. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090113101118.htm

Starvation Keeps Sleep-Deprived Fly Brain Sharp

Like humans and rats, fruit flies cannot survive without sleep. But in a line of flies engineered to be sensitive to sleep deprivation, starvation nearly tripled the amount of time they could survive without sleep…"Modifying lipid processing with drugs may provide us with a new way of tackling sleep problems that is more effective or has fewer side effects.".. "If you identify the appropriate lipids involved in sleep regulation and figure out how to control them, you may be able to decrease suffering associated with loss of sleep or the need to stay awake." Shaw uses fruit flies as models for sleep's effects in higher organisms. He was among the first to prove that flies enter a state comparable to sleep, showing that they have periods of inactivity where greater stimulation is required to rouse them. Like humans, flies deprived of sleep one day will try to make up for it by sleeping more the next day, a phenomenon referred to as sleep debt. Sleep-deprived flies also perform poorly on a simple test of learning ability.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831172443.htm

VISION

Light causes drosophila to take longer midday nap

The scientist has studied drosophila's circadian rhythms for years. In the current study, her research team has been able to show for the first time that the Hofbauer-Buchner eyelets are wired to a clock neuron network in the flies' brain…drosophila allows us to get deep insights into the circadian clock of mammals and probably into that of humans, too."
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160916093047.htm

A Tiny Programmable Fly's Eye

While consumer cameras are inspired from the single-lens mammalian eye, most animal species use compound eyes, which consist of a dense mosaic of tiny eyes. Compared to single-lens eyes, compound eyes offer lower resolution, but significantly larger fields of view, thin package, and with negligible distortion, all features which are very useful for motion detection in tasks such as collision avoidance, distance estimation, and landing. Attempts have recently been made to develop artificial compound eyes, but none of the solutions proposed so far included fast motion detection in a very large range of illuminations as insects do. The novel curved artificial compound eye (CurvACE) features a panoramic, hemispherical field of view with a resolution identical to that of the fruitfly in less than 1 mm thickness.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130521105402.htm

All eyes on retinal degeneration

"Flies are a good model in which to study and test new therapies for retinal degeneration," says Montell. "This research opens the door to using flies as a way to look for drugs to reduce human retinal degeneration due to defects in the visual cycle."
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-02/jhmi-aeo021610.php

New Light Shed on How Retina's Hardware Is Used in Color Vision

Biologists at New York University and the University of Würzburg have identified, in greater detail, how the retina's cellular hardware is used in color preference. The findings, published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), enhance our understanding of how eyes and the brain process color. Conducted by biologists at New York University's Center for Developmental Genetics and the Department of Genetics and Neurobiology at the University of Würzburg in Germany, the research specifically examined the photoreceptor cells in the retinas of the fruit fly Drosophila. Drosophila is a powerful model for studying the color vision process as it is amenable to very specific genetic manipulations, allowing researchers to analyze how its visual system functions when different elements of its retina are affected. "This simple insect can achieve sophisticated color discrimination and detect a broader spectrum of colors than we can, especially in the UV," said NYU biologist Claude Desplan, one of the study's authors. "It is a great model system to understand how the retina and the brain process visual information. The research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308151051.htm

Brain May 'See' More Than the Eyes, Fruit Fly Study Indicates

"It blows open how we think about vision," said Barry Condron, a neurobiologist in U.Va.'s College of Arts & Sciences, who oversaw the study. "This tells us that visual input may not be as important to sight as the brain working behind it. In this case, the brain apparently is able to compensate for the minimal visual input.".. "This provides us with a good model for trying to understand the role that the brain plays in helping organisms, including humans, to process images, such as recognizing faces.".. He said the fruit fly serves as an excellent model for studying neurons because the animal has only about 20,000 of them, whereas humans have about 100 billion. Yet there are many similarities to how fruit fly and human neurons work. According to Condron, researchers are within a year of mapping the entire nervous system of the fruit fly, which then will pave the way for greater understanding of how neurons work in a range of organisms, including humans. 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121101131213.htm

Nerve Cells in the Eyes of Flies and Vertebrates Use Similar Process to Split Up Optical Information

To understand something as complex as "seeing," scientists examine a somewhat simpler but extremely efficient system -- the fruit fly's brain. Despite their tiny size, fruit flies are ideal candidates for such research: they are masters of visual processing; the number of nerve cells involved is manageable, which means that each individual cell can be examined; and genetic tools make it possible to block individual cells and analyse their role in the system. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101110131158.htm

Seeing Movement: Why the World in Our Head Stays Still When We Move Our Eyes

Whether it is ourselves who move or something else in our surroundings is a problem about which we seldom think, since at the subconscious level our brain constantly calculates and corrects our visual impression. Indeed, patients who have lost this ability to integrate movements in their surroundings with their eye movements can no longer recognize what it is that ultimately is moving: the surroundings or themselves. Every time they move their eyes these patients feel dizzy. Studies such as this bring us one step closer to an understanding of the causes of such illnesses. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120321142909.htm

How One And The Same Nerve Cell Reacts To Two Visual Areas In Flies

However, flies clearly demonstrate just how efficient these 60 cells actually are when they dodge obstacles while flying at high speed and land upside-down on the ceiling…. Little by little, the scientists thus approach ever more complex networks until, one day, we can hopefully also comprehend human visual processing - right down to the single nerve cell.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090217141531.htm

Tracking Down Motion Perception

Despite being less than half a millimetre in size, the brain of the fruit fly is not only highly efficient but also fairly straightforward -- containing a "mere" hundred thousand nerve cells. Here, the scientists see a chance to succeed in breaking the nerve cell circuits down into their individual components. The findings are also relevant for humans since, when it comes to the brain, the difference between humans and fruit flies is not as great as one might expect…"This amounts to a scientific breakthrough," says Hubert Eichner, commenting the results of his study. "For over 50 years now, the scientific world has been trying to work out how many detectors are necessary in order to perceive motion." Now that the number of motion detectors has been determined, the neurobiologists can set about tracking down the cells that constitute these two detectors. Chances are good that the brain analysis of these tiny flies will help us to understand also our own motion perception in the future.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110622125700.htm

Motional Layers Found in the Brain: Neurobiologists Discover Elementary Motion Detectors in the Fruit Fly

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried have now come one crucial step closer to this "holy grail of motion vision": They identified the cells that represent these so-called "elementary motion detectors" in the fruit fly brain.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130807133517.htm

New Light Shed On How Retina's Hardware Is Used in Color Vision

Biologists at New York University and the University of Würzburg have identified, in greater detail, how the retina's cellular hardware is used in color preference. The findings, published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), enhance our understanding of how eyes and the brain process color… Conducted by biologists at New York University's Center for Developmental Genetics and the Department of Genetics and Neurobiology at the University of Würzburg in Germany, the research specifically examined the photoreceptor cells in the retinas of the fruit fly   Drosophila.   Drosophila  is a powerful model for studying the color vision process as it is amenable to very specific genetic manipulations, allowing researchers to analyze how its visual system functions when different elements of its retina are affected…"This simple insect can achieve sophisticated color discrimination and detect a broader spectrum of colors than we can, especially in the UV," said NYU biologist Claude Desplan, one of the study's authors. "It is a great model system to understand how the retina and the brain process visual information.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308151051.htm

Fly's Brain -- A High-Speed Computer: Neurobiologists Use State-Of-The-Art Methods to Decode the Basics of Motion Detection

The minute brains of these aeronautic acrobats process visual movements in only fractions of a second. Just how the brain of the fly manages to perceive motion with such speed and precision is predicted quite accurately by a mathematical model. However, even after 50 years of research, it remains a mystery as to how nerve cells are actually interconnected in the brain of the fly… The brain of the fly beats any computer…Now that the first step has been taken, the scientists intend to examine -- cell by cell -- the motion detection circuitry in the fly brain to explain how it computes motion information at the cellular level. Their colleagues from the joint Robotics project are eagerly awaiting the results.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100712102812.htm

MISCELLANEOUS

How the fruit fly could help us sniff out drugs and bombs

A fly's sense of smell could be used in new technology to detect drugs and bombs, new University of Sussex research has found. Brain scientist Professor Thomas Nowotny was surprised to find that the 'nose' of fruit flies can identify odours from illicit drugs and explosive substances almost as accurately as wine odour, which the insects are naturally attracted to because it smells like their favourite food, fermenting fruit… The hope is that such e-noses will be much more sensitive and much faster than the currently commercially available e-noses that are typically based on metal-oxide sensors and are very slow, compared to a biological nose…. As well as the detection of explosives, chemical weapons and drugs, there is a broad array of other possible applications, such as measuring food quality, health (breath analysis), environmental monitoring, and even geological monitoring (volcanoes) and agriculture (detecting pests). "And, of course, the fly's success in identifying the 'wine set' might prove useful for those in the winemaking industry. "But it would be quite difficult to recreate the entire nose; even adopting all sensors would be too difficult. One may be able to do five or maybe 10, out of 43 in the fruit fly or hundreds in the dog. So the question is, which 10 should we use and would it work? (10-14-14)
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141014211800.htm

New theorem determines age distribution of populations from fruit flies to humans

The initial motivation was to estimate the age structure of a fruit fly population, the result a fundamental theorem that can help determine the age distribution of essentially any group. This emerging theorem on stationary populations shows that you can determine the age distribution of a population by looking at how long they still have to live. The mathematical discovery can help produce data with a wide range of implications, from predicting rates of infectious diseases, such as West Nile virus spread by mosquitoes, to anticipating the health care needs of an aging population… In terms of broader application beyond age distribution, instead of farmer's guesstimating how many wolves are needed to keep their elk population in an ideal range and vice versa in Montana, they can apply this theorem. (10-6-14)
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141006114101.htm

Wine tasters have fruit flies to thank for their jobs

Picture a wine taster, staring down their nose into a ruby red shiraz. As they swish the glass and inhale they detect hints of black currant and raspberry, an expression of deep concentration on their face. Now picture what their expression would be if they knew fruit flies played a role in getting all those flavors there. Wine tasters have fruit flies to thank for their jobs… So it looks like we might have the same tastes as insects – as evidenced by how much money professional wine tasters make (as much as $160,000!) for identifying the flavors that insects have played a role in creating.   http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/wine-tasters-have-fruit-flies-thank-their-jobs.html

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Fruit flies are also mentioned above in “REVIEW: Sex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love & Language from the Insect World” and “Unraveling a Butterfly's Aerial Antics Could Help Builders of Bug-Size Flying Robots”.

Also see:

I See No-See-Ums

And the fly section on the Articles page.