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Fruit Fly Life Cycle
Have you ever noticed the tiny fruit flies flitting around your fruit bowl in the summertime? Did you know that they have been used for genetic research for nearly a hundred years? Genetics is the study of how traits are passed from one generation to the next. The types of living things that work best for genetic studies are those that are easy to keep in a lab, have lots of offspring, and most importantly, have short generations. A generation is the average time between the birth of the parents and the birth of the parents’ offspring. A human generation is twenty five years or more. A fruit fly generation is two weeks.
Fruit flies have other characteristics helpful for research. Fruit flies have many genetically derived traits, like red, white, and brown eye color, that are easy to identify. It is also helpful for research that it’s fairly easy to tell the sexes apart. Male fruit flies are smaller, and their abdomens are less pointy than females’ abdomens, with a distinctive black patch.
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