Drosophila melanogaster as a research tool
2006 marked the 100th year since the publication by W. E. Castle of two papers* that arguably can be considered as marking the beginning of the use of Drosophila melanogaster as a research tool and model organism. In light of this fact FlyBase is starting a series of occasional features highlighting what we consider to be landmark papers and events in the first century of research using “the fly”. The first installment in the series is Calvin Bridges paper† on the proof of the chromosome theory of heredity using non-disjunction of the sex chromosomes and correlating that abnormal behavior of the chromosomes with altered patterns of inheritance of sex-linked genes. The paper appeared in the first volume and on the first page of a new journal called Genetics. The paper is significant because it addressed and resolved a contentious issue at the time as well as establishing D. melanogaster as a model for genetic analyses.
* Castle, W.E., et al 1906. The effects of inbreeding, cross-breeding, and selection upon the fertility and variability of Drosophila. Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci. 41:731—786.
* Castle, W.E. 1906 Inbreeding, cross-breeding and sterility in Drosophila. Science 23:153
† Bridges, C.B. 1916 Non-disjunction as proof of the chromosome theory of heredity. Genetics 1:1—52.