Will Irradiation Produce Mutations in Fruit Flies? (page 2)

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Author: Muriel Gerhard

Experimental Procedure

  1. State the problem you are going to investigate in this science fair project.
  2. Create the data sheets you will use to record your observations. See above.
  3. Purchase and gather all your materials.
  4. Prepare the banana medium to feed the fruit flies. Dissolve 15g of agar in 480ml of water and bring to a boil. With a fork, mash a banana or push the banana through a strainer. Measure out 500g of the banana pulp and adds it to the agar. Pour this mixture into the bottles. Cut small pieces of toweling into strips and place two strips into each bottle. Now cover the bottles and tilt them to increase the surface area for the flies. When the mixture has set, open the bottles and insert the flies, cover each bottle with a thin layer of gauze. At the end of two weeks, repeat this procedure and transfer the flies into the new bottles. Use the camel hair brush to transfer them.
  5. With the magnifying glass, examine the fruit flies and record their prominent characteristics such as body color, gray or black, eye color red or pink, wing type long wings, vestigial wings and the sexes. You may wish to make labeled sketches of some of these flies in the before and then later, in the after stage.
  6. Anmrrange with your dentist or neighborhood chemist to have one bottle of flies irradiated with ultraviolet light. Use the lowest nanometer rating, 2920 Angstrom units for 30 seconds. The other bottle of flies will serve as your control. Make certain you have a description of the flies in your control bottle.
  7. Optional: You may try to photography your flies as close up as you can get.
  8. Observe your flies for the following three weeks. You will be viewing a new generation of flies. Were there mutations as a result of the exposure to UV radiation?  Were there changes in the prominent characteristics? Compare these flies with the control group?  What did you discover? What did you conclude?
  9. Record your conclusion.
  10. Prepare your report and include all of the following: a clear statement of the problem, your hypothesis, namely what did you predict would occur, and a list of the materials used. Include the safety precautions taken. Describe the procedures used. Include all the data that were gathered. Include all charts. Explain the purpose of the control.  Formulate your conclusions.   For dramatic value, you may include photos of the materials used or of you in the process of conducting this investigation. Include a bibliography of sources you used. You may wish to assess what you did and describe what you would do differently if you were to do this project again. What went wrong? What was very successful?  You may wish to expand this research next year. What other materials might you investigate for this purpose? What advice would you give to your classmates if they planned to replicate this experiment?

Charting and or Graphing Data

In each section of the experiment, use charts to display the obtained data such the following sample:

Chart of Observations of Changes/Mutations

Samples of Fruit Flies

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Bottle A




Bottle B






E.Morholt, P. Brandwein, A. Joseph: A Sourcebook for the Biological Sciences  

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