Witnessing Phenotypic and Molecular Evolution in the Fruit Fly.


Journal Article

This multi-day exercise is designed for a college Genetics and Evolution laboratory to demonstrate concepts of inheritance and phenotypic and molecular evolution using a live model organism, Drosophila simulans. Students set up an experimental fruit fly population consisting of ten white eyed flies and one red eyed fly. Having red eyes is advantageous compared to having white eyes, allowing students to track the spread of this advantageous trait over several generations. Ultimately, the students perform PCR and gel electrophoresis at two neutral markers, one located in close proximity to the eye-color locus, and one located at the other end of the chromosome. Students observe that most flies have red eyes, and these red-eyed flies have lost variation at the near marker, but maintained variation at the far marker, hence observing a "selective sweep" and the "hitchhiking" of a nearby neutral variant. Students literally observe phenotypic and molecular evolution in their classroom!

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Heil, CSS; Hunter, MJ; Noor, JK; Miglia, K; Manzano-Winkler, B; McDermott, SR; Noor, MA

Published Date

  • December 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 5 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 629 - 634

PubMed ID

  • 23459154

Pubmed Central ID

  • 23459154

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1936-6434

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1936-6426

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s12052-012-0447-5


  • eng