Portuguese TV news has highlighted the use of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) as an animal research model at the labs of the Champalimaud Foundation
The institution, also an EARA members, is based in Lisbon, Portugal. and uses fruit flies in six of the 19 research groups to study cancer and neurosciences.
In the TV item (in Portuguese), Maria Luísa Vasconcelos, the Principal Investigator of Innate Behaviour Research Group, explained why the fruit fly is the ideal model to study innate behaviours: “We can work with very large numbers of animals because they are tiny and easy to keep”.
The Principal Investigator of Sensorimotor Integration Research Group, Eugenia Chiappe, also clarified how fruit fly is helping to understand how the brain controls our movements.
The Fly Platform is the facility that offers conditions for breeding, maintenance and manipulation, supporting scientists in establishing, applying and developing advanced genetic approaches.
The researchers explained that besides the size of the organism there are other advantages in using flies as a model. For example, the lower ethical and legal questions, the short generation time and the sophisticated tools available to manipulate the genome.