The University of Manchester is leading the way when it comes to fly research with the publication of the first ever basic training package to teach students and scientists how to best use the fruit fly, Drosophila, for research. It's hoped it will encourage more researchers working on a range of conditions from cancer to Alzheimer's disease to use the humble fly.
The unique scheme has been put together by Dr Andreas Prokop from the Faculty of Life Sciences alongside John Roote from the Department of Genetics at Cambridge University. A paper outlining the package has been published in the February edition of the journal G3.
The University of Manchester houses one of the biggest fly facilities in Europe, funded jointly by the University and the Wellcome Trust. It provides temperature controlled rooms for storing the many thousands of fly stocks, dedicated work spaces to sort the flies (referred to as "fly pushing") and a number of high tech microscopes for training and experiments. It is used by 13 Manchester research groups for a wide range of research from evolution to cancer and sleep patterns to drug tolerance.
Dr Prokop helped to establish the facility: "People don't realise just how useful the tiny fruit fly can be when it comes to research. Fellow scientists are often not aware of their genetic value for research. For example, about 75% of known human disease genes have a recognisable match in the genome of fruit flies which means they can be used to study the fundamental biology behind complex conditions such as epilepsy or neurodegeneration."
Fruit flies have been used for scientific research for more than a hundred years. They have allowed scientific breakthroughs in genetics, body structure and function. The first jet lag gene and the first learning gene were identified in flies as well as breakthroughs in neuroscience, such as the discovery of the first channel proteins.
Dr Prokop says: "Fli
|Contact: Morwenna Grills|
University of Manchester