Drosophila melanogaster

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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Drosophila melanogaster (the common fruit fly)

Drosophila has a genome that is slightly larger than that of C. elegans but is still quite small at only 4 chromosome pairs and 1.6x108 base pairs. Its life cycle takes 10 days. The larva hatches 22 hours after fertilization. The entire genome has been sequenced and is available at http://www.fruitfly.org.

As shown in the figure below, Drosophila embryos have 3 thoracic and 8 abdominal segments, allowing easy identifications of body plan mutants.

thoracic and abdominal cuticle and acron head thorax abdomen telson of drosophila
  • Halteres. Balancers which form in third thoracic segment.

  • Wings. Normally form in second thoracic segment. Wild type have only two wings, making Drosophila dipterans.

  • Bicoid. Contains homebox.

  • Even-skipped. Contains homeobox.

  • Engrailed. Contains homeobox.