Drosophila melanogaster, the diminutive and ubiquitous fruit fly, is the classic organism for the study of animal genetics. It was introduced to the lab early in the 20th century by Thomas Hunt Morgan, for good practical reasons: short life cycle, ease of culture, and high fecundity. Mutant flies, with defects in any of several thousand genes, are now used for the study of genetics, development, behavior, and other topics.
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