Fruit Flies Experiment

In our Biology classes, the students are studying genetics. One of the best ways to analyze and understand the genetic process is to study the mating patterns of Fruit Flies. Fruit Flies are wonderful organisms for genetic experiments because they reproduce quickly, produce large numbers of offspring, are easy to keep in the classroom, and have easily identifiable traits.  After studying genetics, students can see the principles they learned about in action by crossing flies with different mutations and studying the results.  However, this requires very detailed record keeping in order to keep all of the different crosses and their offspring organized.  We are using the fruit flies to study sex-linked traits (traits that are on the sex chromosomes, usually X), sexual selection (if females preferentially mate with red-eyed or white-eyed males), and genetic drift (how the traits in a population can be influenced by chance events).  It’s a great opportunity to prepare for more rigorous college labs!