Drosophila Care

What are Drosophila?

Drosophila is a genus of flies, belonging to the family Drosophilidae. Drosophila Melanogaster is the most used in research and are often called fruit flies due to their propensity to be found near unripe and rotted fruit.

Why keep Drosophila?

Drosophila are truly fascinating insects, for example did you know that:

  • About 75% of human disease genes have a recognisable match in fruit flies?
  • Drosophila can learn and be made smarter?
  • They are ideal for the study of genetics, their compete genome was sequenced in 2000?
  • Drosophila can get drunk and addicted to alcohol, so are used in addiction research?
  • They are used in sleep research? - Coffee keeps them awake, and old flies sleep less
  • Flies experience jet lag and in the Mediterranean naturally take a siesta!?
  • Flies were the first ever organisms that reached space in 1947 and returned safely?

How to make Drosophila media?

Drosophila media is simple to make, although for ease and speed ready-made media tubes can be purchased as well as instant media. The below recipe makes around 40-50 tubes.

Drosophila Media Recipe:

    • 9g Yeast
    • 4.5g Agar
    • 43g Oatmeal/Maizemeal
    • 40g Golden Syrup/Treacle
    • 520g Water
    • 12ml Methyl Paraben (Nipagin) Solution (1g per 10ml of 95% alcohol)

Add part of the water to the dry ingredients, mix until lump free, add remainder of water. Boil for around 15 minutes stirring occasionally, allow to cool a little then add the Nipagin solution. Decant into specimen tubes whilst still hot (approx. 60°C) then allow to cool.

Once cool, if not using immediately, plug with a plastic stopper and refrigerate, use within 1 week. Before adding flies, dry any condensation using paper towel then add a sprinkling of baker's yeast and a drosophila ladder (optional).

References:

Manchester Fly Facility has some great resources for schools, the fly facts in this blog have been sourced from: http://www.flyfacility.manchester.ac.uk & https://droso4public.wordpress.com/