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Drosophilidae is a diverse, cosmopolitan family of flies, including the genus Drosophila, which includes fruit flies. The best known species is Drosophila melanogaster that is used extensively for studies concerning genetics, development, physiology, ecology, behaviour, etc. The fruit fly is mostly composed of post-mitotic cells, has a very short lifespan, and shows gradual aging. Like in other species, temperature influences the life history of the animal. Several genes have been identified whose manipulation extends the lifespan of these animals.
The diagnostic characters for Drosophilidae include the presence of an incomplete subcostal vein, two breaks in the costal vein, and a small anal cell in the wing; convergent postocellar bristles; and usually three frontal bristles on each side of the head, one directed forward and the other two directed rearward. More extensive identification characteristics can be found in "Drosophila: A Guide to Species Identification and Use" by Therese A. Markow and Patrick O'Grady, (Academic Press, 2005) ISBN 0124730523 or "Drosophila: A Laboratory Handbook" by M. Ashburner, K. Golic, S. Hawley, (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2005).
The knowledge of the phylogeny of this family is incomplete. The family is subdivided in two subfamilies, the Drosophilinae and the Steganinae. The two subfamilies do not contain a single morphological character that distinguishes them. However, the combination of characteristics is sufficient to assign species correctly to the subfamilies.
- ↑ van der Linde, Kim; Houle, David (2008) A supertree analysis and literature review of the genus Drosophila and closely related genera (Diptera, Drosophilidae). Insect Systematics & Evolution 39(3): 241-267
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