Biology students learn about genetics through fruit fly project
Fruit flies are ideal subjects of study for students learning the fundamentals of genetics because they have eight chromosomes — compared to humans, who have 46 — and breed quickly.
Biology students at McKeesport Area High School on Friday began a month-long lab project that will involve breeding fruit flies and tracking physical changes in the insects over several generations.
Students will cross-breed genetically unique flies to study how dominant and recessive genetic traits affect eye color and wing size.
The lab, funded with a grant from the Consortium for Public Education, will be conducted by all biology students at the school.
Teacher Marla Hayes told a class of honors biology students on Friday to be careful when they uncap the vials containing the tiny winged creatures because they would fly away.
“We don't want that to happen,” she said.
To lessen the chance of escape, she told students they would chill the flies in advance to anesthetize them but warned the dulling effect of refrigeration would not last long.
Most students seemed excited about the lab, though some had reservations.
“These things can fly,” said sophomore Dominique Clark. “I'm just scared they're going to jump on me.”
Bill Hazy, a student teacher from the University of Pittsburgh working with Hayes, said it's been comical hearing students react to the experiment, noting it was unique to see this level of experimentation carried out at the high school level.
“I never did anything like this when I was in high school or college” he said.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kennywood Holiday Lights festival returns for 5th year
- Former McKeesport resident donates to heritage center children’s raffle
- Fire breaks out for 3rd time in abandoned McKeesport house
- McKeesport Area discusses easier access of public documents
- After 27 years, Clairton emerges from state ‘financially distressed’ status
- Taxpayer Relief Act at mercy of state budget actions
- McKeesport Area could bring back Air Force Junior ROTC program
- Elizabeth proposes big jump in small local services tax; councilwoman steps down
- Clairton City School District wins award for its anti-hunger efforts
- McKeesport budget smaller; no tax hike planned
- Model train exhibit raises funds for McKeesport club