One doesn’t normally think of flies as being highly sexually potent. However, fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster produces a single 5cm long sperm (20 times longer than his body), which is passed to the female along with a cocktail of chemicals that render her more compliant. Flies are attractive research models because of their giant chromosomes, cells, sperm and very well documented genome. Stem cells are here pictured at the centre of the fly testis surrounded by germline cells (shown in purple) that can become sperm. Researchers are keen to explore how these two kinds of cells communicate to keep up a continuous production of sperm. In this way, they also hope to understand how new tissues regenerate, which has important medical implications for humans.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.