As you know, this lab course culminates in students conducting a scientific experiment involving fruit flies. How will you do this? The first step is developing a research question (i.e., figuring out what it is you want to study). To help you get started on this process, we would like you to read the following:

  • A short “Introduction to Drosophila” handout that covers some of the basic biology of fruit flies, especially Drosophila melanogaster, which you will be working with in this class. This document is posted on Blackboard.
  • Select an article from the attached list of news stories about research in Drosophila (“31 Popular Articles on Fruit Flies”). You will read the article that corresponds to the day of the month of your birth. If you were born on May 3rd, you would read the third article. If you were born on February 24th, you would read the 24th article, and so forth. (Be sure to write the day of the month of your birth in your journal, along with the title of the article/news story.)

Using the information you read in these articles, list at least three research ideas or questions to investigate. BE SPECIFIC in your idea and make sure that it isn’t something that is already common knowledge. For example, do not write “What do fruit flies eat?” We already know what fruit flies eat in general (see the “Introduction to Drosophila”). Rather, if some aspect of diet is interesting to you, think about what you could study that might not already be known. Also, think about HOW you would study it. For example, using that question, you could investigate if fruit flies prefer fermenting fruits or vegetables. Or do male and female fruit flies have a different food preference? There are many possibilities.

You are to list THREE DIFFERENT IDEAS. Do not list three questions that are all variations of “What do fruit flies eat?” Be creative and think about how you can create an experiment to answer each question.

Next, write a hypothesis statement for each research question. Remember, a good hypothesis must be both testable and falsifiable (see Lab 1 handout). There are a few examples of hypothesis statements in the Lab 1 handout. In addition, here is a website that also has some good examples of different ways to write hypothesis statements:

Finally, write a statement on how you think you could set up an experiment to test each hypothesis. Make sure to identify the independent and dependent variable in each hypothesis.