Genome, evolution, Drosophila and beyond: The new dimensions

  • Prigent S
  • Rajpurohit S
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A century ago a little fly with red eyes was first used for genetic studies. That insignificant fly, called at that time Drosophila ampelophila, revolutionized biology while becoming the model we know today under the name of Drosophila melanogaster. Since then its study has never ceased, but the field of interest has somewhat changed during the century. To caricature a little, today we essentially learn from Drosophila meetings that the fly has a brain! It is true that the fly is a tremendous model organism for neurobiology. But this fly is, in fact, an appropriate and recognized model for the whole of biology. Indeed, Drosophila meetings are exceptional opportunities to gather biologists of diverse backgrounds together. There we not only learn about the latest improvements in our field of interest, but surely appreciate learning another bit of biology. From this biological melting pot has emerged a culture very specific to the fly community. Thus besides neurobiology, cell biology and development, a diversity of other research fields exist; they all have their own place in the cultural and historical dimension of the "drosophila" model. Several communications from those diverse research fields were presented at the 8th Japanese Drosophila Research Conference (JDRC8) and are briefly covered here. We believe it more judicious to call the model "drosophila" without a capital initial, as the model has never really been limited to only the Drosophila genus. The vernacular name "drosophila" is currently used to designate any fly of the Drosophilidae family and we believe the term more appropriate than "small fruit fly" or "vinegar fly" to better include the species and ecological diversity of the model.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Arthropods
  • Comparative genetics
  • Endosymbiosis
  • Genetics
  • Human diseases
  • RNAi
  • Speciation
  • Transgenic flies

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  • Stéphane R. Prigent

  • Subhash Rajpurohit

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