Kiwiberries are among several delicious projects underway at the university's fruit research program, a collection of about a dozen researchers who breed, produce and improve fruit in Minnesota. From creating new varieties of apples -- like the recently released First Kiss -- bumping up berry production and breeding grapes suitable for the Minnesota climate, fruit researchers at the university carry on a flavorful tradition that's been cultivated over generations.
WASHINGTON – For a long time, the debate has gone on: Does size matter to females? Biologists now say, definitively, that it does. At issue is the fruit fly sperm, which is gargantuan in the tiny world of that speck-sized insect. A fruit fly's sperm is 2.3 inches long, or about 23 times longer than its body. If a man had sperm the same proportion to its body as a fruit fly, it would be nearly 140 feet long.
Scientists have created a high-resolution image of a fruit fly brain that will let researchers trace the connections of neurons throughout the brain. A team at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus led the work, which was recently published in Cell. Davi Bock, the lead researcher on the project, said in a statement that this level of resolution hasn't been achieved before and it will allow scientists to better understand which neurons play a role in behaviors exhibited by fruit flies. Though a fly brain is relatively small -- about the size of a poppy seed -- creating a detailed map of the 100,000 neurons it holds is still a major challenge, and traditional methods haven't allowed for this type of imaging to be done. The researchers developed a new set of tools that included high-speed cameras, custom-built systems that can quickly process brain tissue samples and a robotic loader that can pick up samples and put them into place on its own.
Don't underestimate the manliness of the humble fruit fly: He may be small, but his sperm is not. In fact, the sperm of the fruit fly Drosophila bifurca can stretch up to nearly 6 centimeters in length. If this massive sperm length seems unusual, that's because it is. The D. bifurca's spaghetti-like zygote takes a lot of energy to produce, and therefore he can only produce a few of them. That means he can't implement the more common male reproductive strategy of quantity over quality.