What are Model Systems? (1)
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.
A model system is scientists' jargon for a particular species of animal that has been developed over many years to be experimentally powerful to answer particular questions. So for example the fruit fly, Drosophila, is an organism that was chosen partly for historical reasons as a genetic organism, but for those historical and a few serendipitous reasons, the fruit fly has become a model organism for genetic studies. And what that means is that we have so many years now (more than a century) of investigation of the fruit fly, that the toolbox that exists to manipulate the genes in the fruit fly is superior to that in most other organisms. So we often go to the fruit fly when we want to use a genetic approach to ask about any biological process, such as memory or developmental biology.
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Doctor Josh Dubnau discusses some remarkably sophisticated behaviors in fruit flies that suggest that they do have cognition.
Some of the plants, animals, and microorganisms used by researchers as "model" biological systems.
Model organisms such as yeast, bacteria, the mouse and the fruit fly are used by researchers to study biological systems. The genomes of these organisms have been mapped and sequenced.
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.
Many of the genes important for memory in flies are probably also important for memory in other animals, even humans. Doctor Josh Dubnau explains how the T-maze is used to test memory in flies.
Professor David Van Vactor discusses the properties that make the fruit fly (drosophila) a powerful model system.
Doctor Josh Dubnau describes how he and his colleagues at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory devised an experiment that dissociated the encoding and retrieval of memory in fruit flies.
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 Ron Davis discusses the attributes that make the fruit fly a good model for studying memory in humans.
Doctor Josh Dubnau explains that mutant screens generate a large panel of mutant animals that average a mutation in one gene. Each animal is then tested for a particular characteristic.