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white-eyed fruit flies

side-by-side closeup images of two fruit flies' faces. both are yellowish-brown in color, but their large compound eyes are mostly white.

Researchers are refining methods for applying gene-editing technology CRISPR/Cas9 in species of fruit flies, which could soon lead to useful advances in management of fruit fly pests like the sterile insect technique. In an effort to develop a reliable and detailed approach to genetically modify tephritid fruit flies, a research team led by Daniel Paulo, Ph.D., a researcher in the Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, knocked out the gene responsible for the transportation of red pigment in the eyes of the melon fly (Zeugodacus cucurbitae), left, and oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis), right, which led to a generation of flies with white eyes in both species. The team chose this trait to test their approach because it leads to an easy-to-see change in the flies. (Photos by Daniel Paulo, Ph.D.)

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