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Dec 2011 - Flies, Sex & Lies

Pharmaceutical companies study the effects of new medicines on the fruit fly. They test them on fruit flies that have been changed slightly to show diseases like obesity, motor neuron disease that Stephen Hawking and Mao Zedong suffered from, and brain degenerating diseases such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's disease. These models let pharmaceutical companies test new drugs quickly and cheaply before trying them in mice (followed by humans). They also let scientists find out why these diseases develop, hoping that they are translated into cures for human disease.

In this talk, Dr. Edward Duca held a discussion on the humble fruit fly, its amazing life (seriously), and how it has helped fight human disease. He highlighted that although the fruit fly might be tiny, it has nevertheless been a treasure trove of discovery.