Monday, March 07, 2005

301: Flies key to genetic research

Flies key to genetic research - The Honolulu Advertiser - Hawaii's Newspaper:

Hawaiian picture wings, sometimes called pomace flies, vinegar flies or drosophila, are believed to have evolved from a single-introduced fly. Some folks just call them fruit flies, but they are different from the introduced fruit flies that attack the state's oranges, papayas and other crops.

They have evolved to feed on specific plants in the Hawaiian environment, and have developed unique wing patterns and behaviors. They have also been used extensively in genetic research.

“Hawai'i's picture wings are marvels of nature. Few species have contributed so much to human understanding of genetics. Research on their immune systems may one day lead to a cure for AIDS, cancer, or the West Nile virus,” said Kieran Suckling, policy director of the Center for Biological Diversity.
The Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed that 12 species be listed as endangered, but the applications disappeared along the way.

Evolution, cures for diseases, common descent: the whole gamut.