A Fruit Fly Meditation on Banana Levitation

“time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana”, Groucho Marx

Fruit Flies (Drosophila melanogaster) share 60% of DNA with humans, they are cheap and easy to keep in a lab, have a fast reproduction rate and as a result are often used in scientific research. Six Nobel prizes have been awarded due to groundbreaking research using fruit flies which have helped find treatments for Down’s, Alzheimer’s, autism, diabetes and cancers of all types. “It’s almost as if they were designed to help scientists,” says geneticist Steve Jones.

Six Nobel prizes in physiology or medicine’ to 10 scientists for their work based on fruit fly research:

1933 Thomas Hunt Morgan used drosophila to uncover the role played by chromosomes in heredity

1946 Hermann Joseph Muller used X-ray irradiation to increase mutation rates in fruit flies

1995 Edward B Lewis, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, and Eric F Wieschaus used drosophila to understand genetic control of embryonic development

2004 Richard Axel concentrated on odour receptors and the organisation of the olfactory system

2011 Jules A Hoffmann was given the award for his research on the activation of innate immunity

2017 Jeffrey C Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W Young won the prize for uncovering the molecular mechanisms that control circadian rhythms

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

from The Fly, William Blake

paper reel, magnetic levitator, model banana, copper & brass stand, electric motor, 60cm high x 50cm wide x 40cm deep