Drosophila in Fundamental Research

CD BioSciences offers a range of Drosophila-based services and products to assist researchers to use Drosophila to advance basic research in the life sciences.

Mammalian and human studies are very expensive and time-consuming. Model organism research is the simplest and most economical way to study complex things. As the most commonly used model organism in the biological sciences, Drosophila has an excellent platform of genetic tools with potential for discovering and solving problems in several areas of basic biological research.

Innate Immunity Research Using Drosophila

Drosophila lacks adaptive immune response and is therefore a powerful model for studying the innate immune system, completely free from the interference and masking of acquired immune response. Similar to vertebrates, the systemic immune response in fruit flies can be activated by viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasitic wasps. Thus it can be used for a variety of immune response studies, including epithelial barrier and coagulation, humoral responses, cellular immune responses (dependent on phagocytosis of blood cells), and other processes such as wound healing and encapsulation.

In addition, Drosophila has been used to parse coordinated immune responses at the level of the entire biology, such as pathogen co-infection, host immune evolution, and mechanisms of allergy and autoimmune disease due to innate immune dysfunction.

The immune responses of DrosophilaFig.1 The immune responses of Drosophila (Govind 2008)

Physiology and Metabolism Research Using Drosophila

Some important human diseases are mainly tied to metabolic disorders and environmental factors, including diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Understanding the mechanisms of metabolic regulation and physiological feedback systems is important for the development of efficient therapeutic and diagnostic tools.

Drosophila has conserved molecular pathways in glucose metabolism and lipid metabolism, etc. Fruit flies has been used to study human metabolic disorders, identify novel disease genes and study the correlation between caloric intake and metabolic dysfunction, such as diet-induced lipotoxicity and type 2 diabetes.

Signaling Pathways that Regulate Drosophila Metabolism under fed and starved conditionsFig.2 Signaling pathways that regulate Drosophila metabolism under fed and starved conditions (Baker et al. 2007)

Systems Neuroscience Research Using Drosophila

Systems neuroscience is the science of understanding how the brain coordinates behavior. However, it is relatively complicated to be studied in mammals because higher mammalian neuronal connectivity are often unknown and complex. Fortunately, those problems are solved using fruit flies.

Currently, Drosophila has been used in systems neuroscience studies, such as auditory, gustatory, olfactory, visual systems, learning and memory, and sleep regulation.

Cancer Research Using Drosophila

Cancer is a cumulative manifestation of complex disease states affecting multiple organs, and its pathogenic mechanisms are complex. Studies have shown that the high level of signaling pathway conservation in tumorigenesis between fruit flies and human, which indicate that Drosophila can be used to study the molecular mechanisms of tumorigenesis, invasion, and metastasis. In addition, we are equipped the technology and platform to establish local and systemic cancer flies that can be used to model different forms of human cancers. Our aim is to accelerate the study of oncology and the development of diagnostic and therapeutic options.

Tumours in fliesFig.3 Tumours in flies (Gonzalez 2013)

Aging Research Using Drosophila

Aging is a complex pathophysiological process of damage repair imbalance involving multiple mechanisms, such as increased oxidative stress, stem cell depletion, changes in intercellular communication, reduced gene stability, telomere ablation, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, dysregulation of nutrient metabolism and mitochondrial dysfunction. Drosophila has been used for functional aging studies at the organ and tissue levels, and to some extent can advance the study of anti-aging mechanisms in mammals and translational medicine.

Overview of the physiological and genetic factors that dictate Drosophila agingFig.4 Overview of the physiological and genetic factors that dictate Drosophila aging (Piper et al. 2018)

At CD BioSciences, we are committed to advancing bioscience technology and basic research using Drosophila. We provide a total solution to our clients worldwide. Please feel free to contact us starting your private project customization.


  • Ip YT. (2005). Drosophila innate immunity goes viral. Nature immunology, 6(9), 863-864.
  • Baker KD, et al. (2007). Diabetic larvae and obese flies—emerging studies of metabolism in Drosophila. Cell metabolism, 6(4), 257-266.
  • Govind S. (2008). Innate immunity in Drosophila: Pathogens and pathways. Insect science, 15(1), 29–43.
  • Gonzalez C. (2013). Drosophila melanogaster: a model and a tool to investigate malignancy and identify new therapeutics. Nature Reviews Cancer, 13, 172-183.
  • Piper MD, et al. (2018). Drosophila as a model for ageing. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Molecular Basis of Disease, 1864(9), 2707-2717.

For research use only. Not intended for any clinical use.

Related Services