Drosophila genetics - the first 25 years

Published on September 29, 2008 Reviewed on May 31, 2018   63 min

A selection of talks on Genetics & Epigenetics

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Hello, my name is Dan Lindsley, and this is the introductory lecture to this series on Drosophila genetics and biology. I'm going to try to summarize the results of the first 25 years of work on Drosophila genetics, but before I do that I would like to introduce you to the fly.
As you can see from this slide, the fly is a small organism, but one pair in a confined space can produce 50 to 100 progeny in two weeks' time.
This slide shows two pictures of adult flies, the upper one is a dorsal view of a male and the lower one a lateral view of a female. These are typical insects, they have three body parts, the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. The thorax contains three pairs of legs, and in most insects two pairs of wings, but in the Diptera the posterior pair of wings is replaced by a small mechano-sensory organ known as the haltere or the balancer. The male's wings are spread to provide a good view of the of the veination which is a constant feature of the wings and subject to mutation. I now want to proceed to discuss the body parts one at a time.
First being the head, the upper left-hand picture is the head of a wild-type fly, a major feature of the head is the large red compound eye, it's composed of some 800 unit eyes or ommatidia, which are arranged in a hexagonal array. Anterior to the eye are the antennae, and below are the mouth parts, the head also contains a specific set of bristles. Eye mutations involve several features of the eye, eye color as shown in the white mutant, or eye texture as shown in the rough-eye mutant where the arrangement of the ommatidia becomes completely destroyed. In the bottom row are three eye mutants which affect both size, shape, and texture of the eye.