10 Nobel Laureates owe it to the tiny fruit fly, here's why

First Published 24, Oct 2017, 1:25 PM IST
10 Nobel Laureates owe it to the tiny fruit fly
Highlights
  • This year's Nobel Laureate Michael Roshbash said, "very pleased for the fruit fly".
  • It is said that 75% of the known human disease genes, including Diabetes and Cancer have a significant match in the fruit flies.
  • Experiment on fruit flies provide results in just 3 weeks, which can take upto a year in case of other organisms.

Michael Roshbash, one of the recipients of this year's Nobel prize for medicine, admits that much of his work was possible because of his experiments on the fruit fly. Something, that 10 scientists since 1990s have also admitted. Acknowledging the fruit fly, in his own small way, Roshbash said, "very pleased for the fruit fly". Scientists in medicine have been awarded for studying the life cycle of the fruit fly, which in turn has helped in making groundbreaking discoveries pertaining to the human body.

Cambridge University's fly facility has 60,000 tubes containing fruit flies that are used by about 30 research groups. However, what makes the fruit flies so useful for the research groups is the fact that humans and fruit flies share 60% of the same DNA. Scientists also believe that close to 75% of the known human disease genes, including Diabetes and Cancer have a significant match in the fruit flies. 

What makes it even amazing is that fact that the entire experiment can finish in 3 weeks since the fruit flies life cycle ends in 2 weeks. Andreas Prokop, a biologist at Manchester University, said, "We can plan an experiment on a fruit fly and have the results in three weeks. In a mouse that could take a year." Moreover, the simplicity of the genome, only four pairs of chromosomes as compared to human being's 23 pairs makes it much easier to carry out experiments on fruit flies than on any other creature. 
 

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