Why the fruit fly is vital

The fruit fly is the ideal laboratory animal, not only because it looks genetically so much like humans. "It is also very cheap, because you can breed a large number of flies in a short time." This means that researchers can do large-scale research for the same price with the fly, than with mice or even with human subjects.

And because you can get so much, you can test many possible solutions for diseases or hereditary diseases on fruit flies. "The flies also only live about 60 to 90 days, and they propagate in about 15 days, which means they are perfect for age research or if you need several generations for your research."

How does such a research work?

The fruit fly research starts with the making or buying of a fruit fly. "I can do a fruit fly design as I want them. For example, one that makes a certain human protein or carries a genetic disorder that people also have. "

That happens with genetic modification. "The dna of the fly is changed by injecting the embryo of a fruit fly with human dna that carries Alzheimer's disease for example, and a generation later the flies also have Alzheimer's disease, and because the offspring of a fruit fly are all exact copies, you can investigate very well. which substances may help against Alzheimer's. "

Doing research with fruit flies is not new, but it is relatively young in the Netherlands. "In America, much more research is being done with the fruit fly, since the beginning of the 20th century, and in the Netherlands it has only started to rise in recent years."

Ethical concerns

In the meantime, the fruit fly is increasingly replacing the location of mice as a popular laboratory animal. It is relatively difficult to do research with mice or other large test animals. There are all kinds of ethical objections to research with laboratory animals, so you need a permit for research with mice. This is not necessary for fruit flies.

There is also much less criticism of research with fruit flies. For example, researchers can try more things, fundamental research can be done and all kinds of substances can be tried in the hunt for the solution to a disease. "In a manner of speaking, I can think of a trial today and carry it out right away."

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