The Universe Within: Innovation Starts With An ‘Eye’

This is the compound eye of Drosophila melanogaster , more commonly known as the fruit fly.

Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s use fruit flies as models to learn about the genetic and molecular roots of vision disorders.  Although the structure of a fruit fly eye appears very different than a human eye, they have a surprising amount of similarity at the genetic level.

Discoveries gleaned from fruit flies go on to receive further testing using mice or other animal models. The ultimate goal: finding and analyzing compounds that might help prevent human vision loss.

This colorized image was created by Mark Charlton-Perkins, a graduate student working with Tiffany Cook, PhD, in the Division of Ophthalmology at Cincinnati Children’s.

He used a scanning electron microscope to magnify a fruit fly eye more than 250 times. The image was colored by using a second image produced by a confocal microscope. The colors reveal which parts of the fly eye can sense green or blue colors, while the magenta part recognizes cues from the sun to help the fly navigate.

Click here to learn more about the Visual Systems Group at Cincinnati Children’s.

Tim Bonfield

About the Author: Tim Bonfield

Tim Bonfield is an associate in Marketing & Communications at Cincinnati Children's. He joined the medical center in 2009 after 17 years at the Cincinnati Enquirer as an award-winning health beat writer, assistant local news editor and Butler-Warren bureau chief. Tim is a proud Cincinnati native and the frazzled father of two teen daughters.

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