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Name: Nancy
Status: other
Age: other
Location: MO
Country: N/A
Date: 11/29/2005

Do flies have brains?

They certainly do. Much work on fly brains has been done with fruit flies, where a long history of genetic work makes it relatively easy to study such things. Scientists have even been able to create mutations in specific genes which lead to defects in learning and memory in flies! (Basically, flies are trained to respond to a certain positive or negative stimulus, eg., a food odor or an electric shock, and then mutant flies are tested.) Some of the mutated genes have colorful names like dunce, or rutabaga (as in dumb as a rutabaga).

Paul Mahoney, PhD

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