What does a priori mean?

In your time reading biology papers, you’ve likely encountered some Latin terms like in vitro, in vivo, de novo, in situ, et cetera. Because the Latin language had such a large influence on the early natural sciences, these terms are still in common use and have mostly retained their original definitions. However, you may have… Continue reading What does a priori mean?

How to use P-values in biology

After completing an experiment, we’ll usually perform statistical tests to determine whether our results are “significant.” P-values are commonly used to report statistical significance in scientific papers, but biologists have been criticized in recent years for misunderstanding and misusing this statistic. A recent paper in PLOS Biology surveyed the scientific literature and found widespread evidence… Continue reading How to use P-values in biology

How to sex Drosophila melanogaster

One of the most basic and critical tasks in Drosophila research is separating male flies from females, and picking virgin females to set up genetic crosses. Not recognizing the differences between the sexes can lead to ruined experiments and bad times! Here I show you how to sex Drosophila melanogaster AND find those precious virgin… Continue reading How to sex Drosophila melanogaster

How Drosophila melanogaster genes are named

Drosophila melanogaster is known for its interesting genes, with legendary examples like hamlet, cheapdate, dreadlocks, and swiss cheese, among hundreds of others. But these names aren’t just for fun and games. In fact, one of the most important things you’ll learn while working with D. melanogaster is its rules for gene naming. The basics of… Continue reading How Drosophila melanogaster genes are named

All about Drosophila melanogaster chromosomes

When choosing a model organism, one of the main factors to consider is the complexity of the genome. How many genes does it have? How many non-coding vs. protein-coding sequences? How many chromosomes? Four chromosomes Drosophila melanogaster has four chromosomes, or more precisely, four pairs of chromosomes in each somatic cell: a pair of sex… Continue reading All about Drosophila melanogaster chromosomes

The Drosophila melanogaster life cycle

Drosophila melanogaster (D. melanogaster, or the vinegar fly) is an excellent model organism for many reasons: it has a fully sequenced, well characterized genome; it is capable of learning and other complex behaviors; but perhaps most of all, it has a rapid life cycle. At a temperature of 25°C (that’s ~77 degrees Fahrenheit for those… Continue reading The Drosophila melanogaster life cycle