Disco Drosophila

Mark Jones and Keiran Foster from the Physics Department in Oxford helped me building a device which looks like a disco for fruit flies:

The video was made by my husband Christoph out of a recording I made. Keiran helped me by switching on and off the LED’s.

I will use the red and green LED‘s to depolarise genetically modified neurons in fruit flies. This technique is called optogenetics and was developed by Boris Zemelman and Gero Miesenböck. Gero’s name links to a TED talk of him about Optogenetics.

I call the disco device ‘song box’. This is because I will use it to record fly courtship song. In the video you can see a dark spot in the middle of the box - it is a highly sensitive microphone for recording fly courtship song. Male flies sing by extending and vibrating their wing. They do this when they see female flies. However they will not sit and wait on top of the microphone out of good will. I will restrain flies in a small chamber which fits on the microphone.