Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Genetics of virtual fruit flies

My records. Click to enlarge.

The digital lab the records are from was created by the nice folks at Expandable Mind Software! As well as letting you digitally breed flies, they also have all kinds of digital dissections and biology labs. Check them out sometime! For the last couple of weeks, I have been breeding flies. Lots of flies. Luckily, they're digital flies so there isn't any ecological risk or infestation. But there were a lot of flies. And a lot of traits. I'm impressed at my fly software's attention to detail. Every trait a fly could possibly have was in there and I tested them. According to my observations, digital flies have absolutely no sex-linked traits and I think the software had some templates for what profiles the traits had and used them, so once I had completed the first page of records, the rest came intuitively. A surprising number of the traits are recessive, as in real animals. The few dominant traits are obviously dominant, with examples like a trait where in F1, every single fly exhibited that trait and then 50% because obviously, two heterozygous flies bred. I noticed that Punnett squares are noticeably like sudoku puzzles or filling in magic squares. Once you have one possible offspring genotype, the rest come to you. Although, for those of you who heard about this, being used to My Little Python's content, but you're interested, here's some genetics vocabulary.

  • Autosomal:Not dependent on the gender of the fly.
  • Sex-linked:Dependent on fly's gender
  • Genotype:The genes of a given individual
  • Phenotype:What's visible in the individual
  • Homozygous:Exhibiting the same allelle twice
  • Heterozygous:Having two different allelles
  • Allelle:A trait
Overall, I'd give this fly software 5 Unicode hearts! ♥♥♥♥♥ (I don't know how to make a star) It has good graphics, is compatible with all 3 Web browsers I use, is comprehensive of traits, and just overall a great simulation! Plus, somewhere in Neopia, a Quiggle or Nimmo (both frog-like Neopets) is having a feast with hundreds of digital fruit flies, all with different genetic traits. 

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