Drosophila melanogaster is the name given by experts to the fruit fly - an insect that has played a key role in the modern history of evolution and molecular biology.
For the past one hundred years, it has been the most widely used animal model for studying the mechanisms that lie at the basis of biology and genetics.
Drosophila shares 60% of man's genetic pool. Moreover its reproduction cycle is extremely fast (only two weeks) and this has made it particularly suitable for lab experiments, giving it a prominent place in all crucial genetics researchwork and discoveries. Starting with the work of Thomas Hunt Morgan, who in the early years of last century laid the foundations of the future genome map, this documentary shows the contribution this insect has given to the work of great scientists including Tracey Chapman, Seymour Benzer and Jean François Ferveur.
Drosophila acts as a kind of Ariane's thread that links together the early, timid steps of genetics, Mendel's laws of heredity and even the latest research on human behavior and the development of new drugs. Interviews with experts who outline current research trends show that Drosophila can still be used easily and cheaply in the lab. Therefore its role is still crucial today.
To film this compelling chapter of history and modern genetic research, author Philip Smith has used all that television can make available to science today: reports from famous English, US and French labs, historical reconstructions, 3D models and so on.
Prix de l’Imagerie Scientifique at the XIX festival “Image et Science”, Paris, 2002
Special Prix Vega Awards 2002