Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Looking at Larva

Method developed for long-term live imaging of fruit fly larvae

25 March 2020

Looking at Larva

Flies are more than just a pest buzzing around your fruit bowl. They're a biological researcher’s Swiss Army knife, capable of being turned to a huge range of experiments. Fruit flies represent a simplified version of human biology, with many genes and processes identical across species. Much research centres on fly embryos or adults, but the larvae could be even more promising, with more developed structures than embryos, and transparent outer layers making observation easier than in the opaque adults. A new study has found a reliable way to immobilise them, halting their inconvenient wriggling, and so allowing researchers to observe cellular activity within the larva over a long period of time. They could watch as a wound heals (snapshots over time pictured), monitoring key molecules (pink and black) to learn how their activity helps healing, and illustrating the technique’s potential for everything from treatment testing to disease investigation.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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