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Fly poo never looked so beautiful…

6 Jan, 2011
Snapshots of different portions of the fly's digestive tract and its nerve cells, taken using a confocal microscope

Snapshots of different portions of the fly's digestive tract and its nerve cells, taken using a confocal microscope

What can fruit fly faeces tell us about human metabolism? Quite a bit actually.

Dr Irene Miguel-Aliaga from the University of Cambridge and colleagues are using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to investigate the function of these intestinal neurons.Their research has thus far provided clues as to why pregnant women suffer from bloating and constipation, and why there is a link between a low-calorie diet and lifespan.

You can read the full story on the Wellcome Trust website, but one thing we couldn’t highlight there was just how beautiful some of their images are. As Dr Miguel-Aliaga says: “flies’ faecal deposits… are actually rather pretty and don’t smell bad”. Still, it’s surprising to find such beauty deep in so much… er…

Full gallery follows after the jump.

Image credits: Paola Cognigni and Irene Miguel-Aliaga

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