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ERIC Number: EJ956479
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1043-4046
Why Flies? Inexpensive Public Engagement Exercises to Explain the Value of Basic Biomedical Research on "Drosophila melanogaster"
Pulver, Stefan R.; Cognigni, Paola; Denholm, Barry; Fabre, Caroline; Gu, Wendy X. W.; Linneweber, Gerit; Prieto-Godino, Lucia; Urbancic, Vasja; Zwart, Maarten; Miguel-Aliaga, Irene
Advances in Physiology Education, v35 n4 p384-392 Dec 2011
Invertebrate model organisms are powerful systems for uncovering conserved principles of animal biology. Despite widespread use in scientific communities, invertebrate research is often severely undervalued by laypeople. Here, we present a set of simple, inexpensive public outreach exercises aimed at explaining to the public why basic research on one particular invertebrate, the insect "Drosophila melanogaster", is valuable. First, we designed seven teaching modules that highlight cutting-edge research in "Drosophila" genetics, metabolism, physiology, and behavior. We then implemented these exercises in a public outreach event that included both children and adults. Quantitative evaluation of participant feedback suggests that these exercises (1) teach principles of animal biology, (2) help laypeople better understand why researchers study fruit flies, and (3) are effective over a wide range of age groups. Overall, this work provides a blueprint for how to use "Drosophila" as a vehicle for increasing public awareness and appreciation of basic research on genetically tractable insects in particular and invertebrates in general. (Contains 4 figures and 1 footnote.)
American Physiological Society. 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814-3991. Tel: 301-634-7164; Fax: 301-634-7241; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom