Back to Teachers page ABLE



A hands on educational module to teach aspects of human dietary health using fruit flies as a model

This module highlights an exercise to explore a variety of biological processes related to human nutrition and related health issues. The module capitalizes on the tremendous amount of knowledge on the life cycle, physiology, genetics, and behavior of Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the effects of diet on development, survival, behavior, environmental stressors, and physiological functions such as heart rate and neural-muscular function with sensory-motor integration. Students and teachers can develop their own flavor to the modules with exploration in the effect from various available mutations in Drosophila. Many stock lines are available which relate to human diseases providing the potential for students to pursue a wide-range of inquiries on human-related diseases such as diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome. This unit contains pedagogical support to assist teachers with facilitating open inquiry to acquire new knowledge. The interdisciplinary nature of the investigations provides opportunities for diverse connections to address authentic research questions related to diet and health in model invertebrate organisms. This module is presented in a variety of ways to be readily modified depending on equipment available in the classroom and the academic level of students. The modules were designed to be used in a hybrid or remote format with data provided or collected by in class participants.

ABLE hand out for presentation (MS word or PDF)

Power point slides of presentation (ppt)

Egg - 1st instar - early 2nd instar - late 2nd instar - early 3rd - late 3rd - pupa

Draft of text for module (MS word; PDF)

Resources: Papers and web links

Movie order:

1. Intro to “A model for learning about aspects of metabolic syndrome” – (LaShay Byrd)

2. Diets for metabolic syndrome (LaShay Byrd and Jenni Ho)

3. Stages of larvae (Jenni Ho)

Collecting the staged larvae

4. Making a simple Microscope (Ruth Sifuma)

5. Body wall movements (Brecken Overly)

6. Mouth hook movements (Hunter Maxwell & Crysta Meekins )

7. Ethograms and why ethograms- Brittany Slabach (still to add elk photos to movie)

8. Hat Assay (Maddie Stanback & Emma Rotkis)

9. Development of fruit flies-pupation rate (Clare Cole & Kay Johnson)

10. Anesthetize adult flies for moving them (Samantha Danyi)

11. Light and gravity sense in adults (Sushovan Dixit)

12. Effects of diet-ketogenic specific (Madan Subheeswar)

13. Measuring heart rate in larvae (Ann Cooper et al., 2009)

Cooper, A.S., Rymond, K.E., Ward, M.A., Bocook, E.L. and Cooper, R.L. (2009) Monitoring heart function in larval Drosophila melanogaster for physiological studies. Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) 32: )

14. The effect of thermal stressors on larvae and adults fed various diets.
(Alexandra Stanback)

15. A summary of this educational module (LaShay Byrd).

16. Collecting eggs and staged larvae

17. A simple way to knock out flies to transfer a given number to another culture vial.

Sample larval behaviors:

No file

Neat web link for middle and high school students and teachers about Fruit flies

1. Potter, S., Krall, R.M., Mayo, S. Johnson, D., Zeidler-Watters, K., and Cooper, R.L. (2016). Population dynamics based on resource availability and founding effects: Live and computational models. The American Biology Teacher 78(5): 396-403, ISSN 0002-7685, electronic ISSN 1938-4211 [PDF].
Reproductive potential predicts longevity of female Mediterranvan fruitflies (PDF)
3. Inbreeding effects on standard metabolic rate investigated at cold, benign and hot temperatures in Drosophila melanogaster (PDF)
4. Lifespan and reproduction in Drosophila: New insights from nutritional geometry (PDF)
5. A master thesis: The Influence of Dietary Factors on Reproduction in the Fruit Fly, Drosophila melanogaster (PDF)
6. Dietary live yeast alters metabolic profiles, protein biosynthesis and thermal stress tolerance of Drosophila melanogaster (PDF)
7. Fruit fly links related to growth and reproduction on line (MS word and PDF)
8. Drosophila growth abstracts from SICB 2014 (web site) (MS word and PDF)
9. The duration of life of Drosophila m. in various environments (PDF)
10. Population density effects on longevity revisited (PDF)
11. Experimental Studies on the Duration of Life. IV. Data on the Influence of Density of Population on Duration of Life in Drosophila (PDF)
12. Influence of two methods of dietary restriction on life history features and aging of the cricket Acheta domesticus (PDF)
13. Involvement of Redox State in the Aging of Drosophila melanogaster (PDF)

14. Genetics of aging in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster (PDF)
15. Development of the Fruit Fly (PDF)
16. Survival in Oregon-R and shibire mutant of Drosophila melanogaster in response to Temperature (PDF)
17. Experimental Studies on the Duration of Life. XIII. The Influence of Different Feeding during the Larval and Imaginal Stages on the Duration of Life of the Imago of Drosophila melanogaster (PDF)
18. On the developmental theory of ageing. II. The effect of developmental temperature on longevity in relation to adult body size in D. melanogaster (PDF)
19. References on Testing Drosophila life-history theory in the field (PDF)
20. Living Science Handout (PDF)
21. Competition Among Immatures Affects Their Adult Fertility: Population Dynamics (PDF)
22. Evolution of Drosphila (PDF)
23. PPT file on population dynamics (PPT)
24. Longevity in Drosophila melanogaster and its Ebony Mutant in the Absence of Food (PDF)
25. High population density and egg cannibalism reduces the efficiency of mass-rearing in euscepes postfasciatus (coleoptera: curculionidae) (PDF)
26. Biodemography of Aging and Age-Specific Mortality in Drosophila melanogaster (PDF)
27. Age-Specific Survivorship and Reproduction in Phlox drummondii (PDF)
28. Experimental Studies on the Duration of Life. I. Introductory Discussion of the Duration of Life in Drosophila (PDF)

29. The Effects of Evolution are Local: Evidence from Experimental Evolution in Drosophila (PDF)
30. Experimental Studies on the Duration of Life. II. Hereditary Differences in Duration of Life in Line-Bred Strains of Drosophila (PDF)
31. On the influence of intermittent starvation on the longevity of the imaginal stage of Drosophiia melanogaster (PDF)
32. On the influence of density of population upon the rate of reproduction in Drosophila (PDF)
33. Growth and variation of the larvae of Drosophila m. Alptov 1929 (PDF)

Participants designing this content are :

Brittany Slabach, Trinity University, One Trinity Place, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200

Tawny Aguayo-Williams, West Jessamine High School, 2101 Wilmore Rd, Nicholasville, KY 40356.

Byrd, L.S., Ho, A., Ho, J., Wilson, J., Rama, S., Veeraragavan, G., Middleton, D., Armstrong, K., Cole, C., Danyi, S., Johnson, K., Dixit, S., Subheeswar, M., Sifuma, R., Maxwell, H., Rotkis, E., Saelinger, C., Stanback, M., Overly, B., Stevens,K., Bender, A., Terry, L., Bowers, L., Newcomer, A., Butcher, B., Vance, A., Klein, A., McGraw, E., Cooper R.M., Noble, T., Ott, S., Robertson, R., Sweatt, C., Dixon, J., Biragane, J. and Cooper, R.L. - 675 Rose St., Department of Biology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0225 USA.

website maintained by Robin L. Cooper. Contact: RLCOOP1 at UKY.EDU