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The Art in Science

Product Image Lily Pads

Lily Pads

Therese Roth, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow (Yamashita laboratory), Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan

This image was taken from the ovary of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. The green “lily pads” are the future egg cells (stained greenish-blue to identify a protein expressed in germ cells, vasa) and their accompanying nurse cells (green). The fruit fly is often used as a model organism to study development since it can be easily maintained in the lab, and because it reproduces rapidly. Males of this species have the largest sperm cells of any organism on earth, and females produce 20-40 eggs per follicle. In this case, scientists hope to understand how the nurse cells determine the number of eggs that are produced, with obvious implications in understanding human reproduction.