Minnesota Fruit Researchers Hope to Promote Kiwiberry

U.S. News

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.

Sperm size matters to female fruit flies so males step up: biologists

The Japan Times

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.

Researchers capture high-resolution image of a complete fruit fly brain


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.

Zombie fungus infects fruit flies and turns them into slaves

New Scientist

There's no need to travel to exotic rainforests to find mind-warping parasites. They are probably lurking in your own backyard.

Why male fruit flies have such enormous sperm

Los Angeles Times

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.