Sweet Fruit Fly Research Update

So much has happened in the past three weeks doing summer research with my lovely fruit flies. Let me catch you up…

I’ve been setting up cages with apple juice plates weekly for my flies to lay their embryos on. I then collect the embryos off the plates and isolate the gonads. The gonads then are put into culture media so that the gonads can survive and develop for the twelve hour periods I image them for using the laser scanning confocal microscope on the third floor of ISC!

Recently I’ve been working on protocol optimization to maximize the amount of gonads collected for imaging. It’s been determined that letting the sample sit after centrifuging, using two cages to collect from, homogenizing fewer times (to minimize crushing of gonads), and cutting the pipette tip when pipetting gonads from tube to tube (also to minimize crushing of gonads) all seem to increase the sample size of viable gonads able to be seen under the confocal microscope. I also have been trying optimize laser settings on the confocal to improve image quality.

Unfortunately not everything has been all peachy with my fly gonads. The gonads maintain shape and survive for all twelve hours while I image them, but they don’t appear to be differentiating. This is definitely not good since I want to track the cells as they are differentiating from germ-line stem cells into sperm. My next steps are going to be experimenting with different humidity/laser conditions and amounts/types of Fetal Bovine Serum in the fly culture media to see if I can find the perfect recipe to promote differentiation in my fly gonads. I’m also going to be experimenting with new methods of imaging my fly gonads in vivo using phytagel, a clear gel that I hope to be able to lay on top of fly embryos to keep them in place while I image them.

Stay tuned for more fun fly gonad updates!

Image 12: Hub Cells, GFP

Image 12: GSC

Image 12: Spermatagonia


  1. Thanks for the research of fruit fly, it’s the first time I’ve ever read a well-written article about fruit flies.