Drosophila melanogaster

Patrick M. O'Grady

American Museum of Natural History

When biologists refer to "Drosophila" they usually mean Drosophila melanogaster. This small, inconspicuous species has become one of the premiere model systems in modern biology. Research on D. melanogaster over the past century has led to better understanding of virtually every discipline of biology, especially genetics and developmental and evolutionary biology. This work has applications not merely to the biology of flies and other insects, but also into the causes of a variety of human diseases. The most powerful aspect of Drosophila as a model system is the ease with which its genome can be manipulated through a variety of genetic techniques, including germline transformation with transposons. The genomics revolution promises to expand the utility of D. melanogaster and make this species not only a pivotal tool in understanding the evolution and working of the genome but also an important model for bioinformatics and genome annotation.

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