Certainly you have left fruit out on the counter a little too long and have then seen the little tiny flying insects that appear. These are fruit flies. They are also referred to as vinegar flies. These little tiny insects have wings that beat 220 times per second and their minuscule red eyes have 760 individual lenses. They only live about 30 days but during this time the female will lay between 500 and 2000 eggs. This rapid reproduction has allowed them to live on earth over 40 million years according to scientists.
Fruit flies are able to help medical researchers because 75% of the disease causing elements found in humans are also in fruit flies. Therefore scientist can use disease infected fruit flies to help simulate what plagues humans. In addition, due to their rapid life cycle and short life span researches can study genetic evolution over a very short time period. Thirty years of study in fruit flies would take over 200 years in mice and thousands in humans.
Another similarity between fruit flies and humans is that we both prefer fruiter based yeasts – the same as in most beers. In fact sexually rejected males have tendency to drown their sorrows. They get a pleasurable boost and seek out fermented fruit for the alcohol content.
Fruit flies were the first species from earth to go into space. On February 20, 1947 fruit flies were sent into space aboard a V-2 Rocket launched out of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The purpose was to monitor radiation exposure at high altitudes and therefore see how it may affect humans.