Fruit Fly (Drosophila melanogaster)
The cornerstone experimental animal in the study of cellular and molecular genetics for over 50 years has been the ubiquitous fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). Whether mutated to a wingless, white-eyed, or barred, phenotype, or wild, it is the fruit fly that each budding geneticist is first exposed to. More recently, Drosophila are playing a starring role in developmental biology with particular emphasis on this dipteran's embryonic stages. Because they are easy to feed, breed, and maintain in a laboratory setting and their two-week life cycle is relatively short, fruit flies will certainly continue to shine as experimental specimens. This includes the newer fields of gene therapy and genetic engineering as the map of the Drosophila genome is completed.