Drosophila as a Model System
Professor David Van Vactor discusses the properties that make the fruit fly (drosophila) a powerful model system.
Drosophila has been a very powerful model system because it combines a very extensive history and a large complement of tools for genetic analysis with a fairly simple and well-characterized body plan. The nervous system consists of thousands of cells as opposed to the billions of cells in the human nervous system.
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Professor David Van Vactor provides a simple explanation for why researchers work with model systems (model organisms).
Professor David Van Vactor explains that model systems are simple organisms that allow us to study and manipulate gene function and development.
Professor David Van Vactor describes how axons grow during neurodevelopment.
Professor David Van Vactor explains how growth cones guide axons during neurodevelopment.
Doctor Josh Dubnau explains that model systems are particular species of animals that substitute for humans or other animals. For genetic and historic reasons, the fruit fly is a commonly used model.
Professor Ron Davis discusses the attributes that make the fruit fly a good model for studying memory in humans.
The fruit fly is easy to maintain, has large numbers of offspring, and grows quickly. The fruit fly shares with humans a number of so-called “master,” or homeotic, genes.
Students work through a series of experiments that investigate the use of model organisms in the search for a better understanding of the genes that influence memory formation.
Professor David Van Vactor describes the structure of the cytoskeleton, which acts as a scaffold for the cell.
Professor David Van Vactor describes the role of receptor molecules, which receive signals from outside the cell, passing the signal to the inside.