April 13, 2013
What Can Flies Tell Us About Human Health and Evolution?
An interactive session led by Dr. Ronny Woodruff
Distinguished Research Professor, Biological Sciences, Bowling Green State University, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Joint Editor in chief GENETICA
Flies are everywhere! But did you know that flies have been used in scientific research in labs all over the world for the last 100 years. Not just any fly, but fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster, which means black-body dew lovers) that you see around bananas in your kitchen in the summer. These fruit flies are used as a model to help us understand how changes in our genes can make humans sick and can tell us how organisms, including humans, change over time—how they evolve. For example, you can place a human gene, which causes seizures in humans, into flies and the flies have seizures. Or you can change genes in flies that make them have four wings and extra bristles and the same genes when changed in humans cause extra toes and neurological diseases. During this session you will see mutants of flies that have changed eye colors and bristles, and will see how they are grown in a fly lab.
Dr. Ronny Woodruff is a Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at BGSU and joint editor of the Journal GENETICA. Dr. Woodruff has used the fruit fly as a model “system” to study the role of different kinds of mutations in the evolution of this organism.
April 2013 - Hands-On Exhibits
After the interactive session the students will be escorted by their parents to have lunch and then to the hands-on portion of the event. There the students will enjoy the experience of interacting with various exhibits from the Bowling Green State University community.