July 31, 2013

By tracking maggots’ food choices, scientists open significant new window into human learning

The squirming larva of the humble fruit fly, which shares a surprising amount of genetic material with the human being, is helping scientists to understand the way we learn information from one another.

Fruit flies have long served as models for studying behaviour because their cognitive mechanisms are parallel to humans’, but much simpler to study.

Fruit flies exhibit many of the same basic behaviours as humans and share 87 per cent of the material that is responsible for genetically based neurological disorders, making them a potent model for study.