Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fruit Fly Phlebotomy Holds Neuroscience Promise

Date:
March 26, 2008
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
Neuroscientists have developed a technique for extracting useful quantities of insect blood from a single fruit fly. The technique may prove useful in genetic studies and for studying minute amounts of fluid from disease hot-spots, such as those where some retinal diseases begin.

Drawing blood from a fruit fly may only be slightly easier than getting it from a proverbial stone or turnip, but success could provide substantial benefits for neuroscientists.

Related Articles


Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago managed the feat and say their method could expedite understanding of the physiology of important insects such as Drosophila melanogaster, the common laboratory fruit fly that shares almost three-quarters of its genetic code with humans.

Scott Shippy, associate professor of chemistry, and doctoral student Sujeewa Piyankarage developed the technique while assisting UIC neuroscientist David Featherstone, who wanted to analyze the blood from two genetic types of fruit flies he was studying.

Under a microscope, the researchers managed to scrape an incision along the body of a fruit fly larva causing it to leak hemolymph -- insect blood -- onto the underlying collecting plate, and then vacuum it up through a narrow tube, getting enough sample for analysis.

The technique enabled them to gather from 50 to 300 nanoliters -- billionths of a liter -- of fluid, about one-thousandth of a drop, without significant evaporation, even when performed in open-air conditions that are prone to evaporation.

Traditional methods require that several flies or larvae be homogenized to obtain a large enough sample for analysis. In the new method, only a single larva is used, and only one biological fluid -- the hemolymph -- is extracted.

"We know we have hemolymph and nothing else," said Shippy. "It's not diluted with any other cells. And we're doing it on an individual organism."

The method opens up the possibility to study an individual, rather than a general population, to learn how body chemistry affects neurological function.

Fruit flies serve as particularly good laboratory animals because of their ability to quickly breed new generations, including ones with genetic mutations that are analogues to genes that cause human diseases. "They're exceedingly powerful genetic tools," said Shippy.

He said the method could also be used to extract biological fluids from adult flies, as well as from other important laboratory insects, such as cockroaches, where tiny amounts of fluid could be analyzed to study the workings of neural circuitry.

Shippy said the method might also be used for extracting fluid from humans to pinpoint where diseases are just starting.

"We're particularly interested in retinal diseases," he said. "Disease doesn't happen across the whole of the retina, in many cases. Often there are small hot-spots where a disease might start. It would be very interesting to have a tool, or means to collect small volumes from areas where there's a problem, where there's not a problem, and places in between, to follow what's happening."

The findings were reported in the Feb. 15 issue of Analytical Chemistry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "Fruit Fly Phlebotomy Holds Neuroscience Promise." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325143113.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2008, March 26). Fruit Fly Phlebotomy Holds Neuroscience Promise. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325143113.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Fruit Fly Phlebotomy Holds Neuroscience Promise." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325143113.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Buzz60 (Oct. 31, 2014) For its nature series Life Story, the BBC profiled the barnacle goose, whose chicks must make a daredevil 400-foot cliff dive from their nests to find food. Jen Markham has the astonishing video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) The import of salamanders around the globe is thought to be contributing to the spread of a deadly fungus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) A health group in the United Kingdom has called for mandatory calorie labels on alcoholic beverages in the European Union. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Focus on treating the Ebola epidemic in Liberia means that treatment for malaria, itself a killer, is hard to come by. MSF are now undertaking the mass distribution of antimalarials in Monrovia. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins