- a beautiful model
Drosophila melanogaster has proven to be the most extraordinary animal because of the wonderful insights into biology that experimentalists have gained working with it. These range from insights into the genetic basis of development to fundamental ones about the patterns and processes of evolution. We use it to understand the biology perturbed by insecticides because the genetic tools that we can draw on, because it is easy to rear in the laboratory and because of the corpus of research that we can use to understand our results. It remains a most amazing model organism.
My lab also has a particular interest in natural variation and how it differs within and between species. Insecticides exert a stong selective pressure on the 'within species' variation, even in non-pest species like Drosophila, and thereby provide a 'model trait' through which to understand the genetic basis of adaptation.
Two boys fighting for territory
Photographer: Quentin Lang