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New heart anatomy for fruit flies

Findings may help explain reverse heartbeats in Drosophila

kerry grens
Kerry Grens

Kerry served as The Scientist’s news director until 2021. Before joining The Scientist in 2013, she was a stringer for Reuters Health, the senior health and science reporter at...

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Though Drosophila melanogaster has been poked and prodded for decades as a model organism in numerous lines of research, a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology has identified new anatomy in the fruit fly's heart. The findings help explain a phenomenon in which the direction of their heartbeat reverses, the study's author says. "In some sense it's like finding a third eye, at least in the world of circulation," Tom Miller, an entomologist at the University of California, Riverside, told The Scientist. "Particularly in Drosophila melanogaster, when we're supposed to know more about it than most other animals."Scientists have observed heartbeat reversals in a number of different insects, including fruit flies, and it is thought to help improve the flow of hemolymph (the blood of the insect, which does not carry oxygen) throughout the body. Lutz Wasserthal from the University of Erlangen-Neurnberg took a...

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