You are more like a maggot than you think!

August 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm Leave a comment

The squirming larva of the humble fruit fly, which shares a surprising amount of genetic material with the human being, is helping scientists to understand the way we learn information from one another.

Fruit flies have long served as models for studying behaviour because their cognitive mechanisms are parallel to humans’, but much simpler to study.

Fruit flies exhibit many of the same basic behaviours as humans and share 87 per cent of the material that is responsible for genetically based neurological disorders, making them a potent model for study.

While adult fruit flies have been studied for decades, the new paper reveals that their larvae, which are even simpler organisms, may be more valuable models for behavioural research. A fruit fly larva has only 3,000 neurons, for example, while a human has about 10 billion.

The McMaster researchers were able to prove that the larvae, or maggots, are capable of social learning, which opens the door to many other experiments that could provide valuable insights into human behaviour, end even lead to treatments for human disorders, the scientists say.

– See more at: McMaster’s Daily News site.

Entry filed under: Biotechnology News and Info from Canadian Universities. Tags: .

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