THE OBSERVER: Six Nobel prizes – what’s the fascination with the fruit fly?

Press/Media: Expert comment

Release date: 8/10/2017

Description

As a result, the fruit fly has played a key role in unravelling biological processes for the last century. “Drosophila is now the best known organism on the planet because of this work,” said Professor Andreas Prokop, of Manchester University. “Due to this knowledge, we can plan an experiment on a fruit fly and have the result in three weeks. In a mouse that could take a year. Fruit flies offer a cheap, fast pipeline to reach understanding of complex biological questions which can then be translated into medical applications.”

In Prokop’s case, the fruit fly has provided a new understanding of extensions of nerve cells known as axons. These degenerate as people age, but far more sharply if they suffer from Alzheimer’s or other degenerative disease. “We can grow drosophila neurones in culture and use them to study axon development. That helps us get a new understanding of what causes neurodegenerative disease.”

Media contributions

TitleSix Nobel prizes – what’s the fascination with the fruit fly?
Media name/outletThe Observer
Media typeWeb
CountryUnited Kingdom
Date8/10/17
DescriptionAs a result, the fruit fly has played a key role in unravelling biological processes for the last century. “Drosophila is now the best known organism on the planet because of this work,” said Professor Andreas Prokop, of Manchester University. “Due to this knowledge, we can plan an experiment on a fruit fly and have the result in three weeks. In a mouse that could take a year. Fruit flies offer a cheap, fast pipeline to reach understanding of complex biological questions which can then be translated into medical applications.”

In Prokop’s case, the fruit fly has provided a new understanding of extensions of nerve cells known as axons. These degenerate as people age, but far more sharply if they suffer from Alzheimer’s or other degenerative disease. “We can grow drosophila neurones in culture and use them to study axon development. That helps us get a new understanding of what causes neurodegenerative disease.”
URLhttps://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/oct/07/fruit-fly-fascination-nobel-prizes-genetics
PersonsAndreas Prokop