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- When I created a certain fly, I saw that “Make Your Own Fly” said that if it was born a female, her eyes would be red, why is that? A: In flies, as in humans, the male has one X chromosome and one Y chromosome in his cells and the female has two X chromosomes in her cells. The White gene is on the X chromosome, therefore the male will not have two alleles of the White gene and the female will. In case this gene is damaged, the materials required to create the red eye color will not be transferred into the eye cells and they will remain white. A female with one damaged allele and one normal allele will produce enough protein from the normal allele and therefore her eyes will be red. The male does not have another allele, and so normal protein will not be produced and the eye will remain white. Detailed information on the White gene can be found in the Genetic Database.
- How do studies on flies teach us things about humans? A: Many human genes exist in the fruit fly as well. The proteins produced by these genes are usually similar in their function and participate in similar processes. Fruit fly studies enable the understanding of many processes that cannot be studied on cell cultures (for example, development processes or behavior) in an animal in which these processes are similar to humans. See additional information in “Information on the Fruit Fly.”
- Why did I get a male/female fly in “Fly Creator”? A: In flies, as in humans, an embryo containing X and Y chromosomes in its cells will develop into a male and an embryo containing X and X chromosomes in its cells will develop into a female. For example: When choosing in the “Fly Creator” to transfer the X chromosome into the sex cells of the father fly a female fly will be produced since the mother fly (which is a female) has two X chromosomes, therefore her sex cells will always have the X chromosome, and so the embryo created will contain XX in its cells.