Drosophila by the numbers

The humble fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is the granddaddy of all model organisms. Since it helped launch the science of genetics more than a century ago, it has been used to study everything from embryonic development, learning and behavior, human disease, and even for drug discovery. But the fruit fly’s true power lies in its long history as a research object and the tens of thousands of genetic lines that have been created over the last hundred years. The flystock facility at Stowers feeds and cares for more than 1,700 unique lines, some with distinguished histories of their own.


Drosophila by the numbers

>50,000,000
estimated number of fruit flies reared annually

437,000
number of fly food vials prepared annually

18,000
gallons of diesel fuel stored for emergencies

169,056
number of fly-transfers to fresh food vials made by the fly-flipping robot last year

16,000
liters of fly food prepared annually

1,728
number of unique genetic fly lines maintained by the fly-stock facility

100
average number of eggs laid by a female fruit fly each day

60
number of gallons held by the kettle used to prepare fly food

30
average lifespan of fruit flies in days

18
number of incubators used to maintain flies

8
number of research labs working with flies

4
number of walk-in environmental rooms used to maintain flies

2
number of employees in the fly food kitchen