These Fighting Fruit Flies Are Superheroes of Brain Science | Deep Look

by birtanpublished on September 21, 2020

This episode is supported by the great courses plus go to the great courses plus comm slash beep to learn more these fruit flies are throwing down they're like fruit fly gladiators they lunge slip each other over

Roll around and even toss each other sumo wrestler style normally fruit flies don't get this worked up over a drop of apple juice but these guys have had their genes manipulated something scientists have been doing – fruit flies

For more than a century yep these little insects that we only notice when they get into our kitchen our unsung heroes of science in 1910 biologist Thomas Hunt Morgan noticed a rare white eyed fly among his

Normal red-eyed ones the discovery led to our fundamental understanding of how genes get passed on from generation to generation since then fruit flies have been key to figuring out how human diseases work

That's because when it comes down to it fruit flies are more like us than you might think they have about the same number of genes 20,000 or so in fact 75% of the genes that make human sick are found in a very similar form in fruit

Flies they're a simpler version of us a kind of genetic mirror that scientists have used to learn about cancer Parkinson's Alzheimer's and the fighter fruit flies they're helping researchers learn about conditions that tap into our

Emotional states like depression or addiction neuroscientist Eric Hooper who studies fruit flies in David Anderson's lab at Caltech flashes them with a red light he's altered these research flies to be

Sensitive to this light it activates a cluster of neurons in the fly's brain and they fight but change the intensity of the lights and they do something very different see how they're vibrating just one wing

That's fruit fly flirting the researchers were surprised to see that the same neurons controlled such different behaviors what do fighting and flirting have in common in both flies are pretty hot and bothered these

Neurons control something like emotional arousal pinpointing these circuits in their brain could help us figure out where trouble starts in the human brain and maybe one day lead to better treatments for mental illness so the

Next time you see one of these guys on your leftover piece of banana you might want to think twice about swatting it a little thanks might be in order instead thanks to the great courses plus for sponsoring this episode

The great courses plus is a digital learning service providing a range of topics from educators start your one-month trial by clicking the link below or going to the great courses plus comm slash deep hey guys

It's Lauren these flies seem to be having fun if you're curious about the amorous habits of other animals check out our video on newts every year they travel back to the pond where they were born to get some underwater lovin and

Watch how garden snail babies are made it involves a tiny spear called a love dart thanks for watching

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