Tail as Old as Time: Germ Cell Development in the Fruit Fly

Tail as Old as Time: Germ Cell Development in the Fruit Fly

Collections: Now On Display, Image Award Winners

2023 Award Winner

Jaclyn Fingerhut, Yukiko Yamashita

MIT Department of Biology, Whitehead Institute

During development, Drosophila germ cells undergo incredible morphological changes to produce some of the longest sperm in the animal kingdom, ~2mm.

In this fly testis, nuclei are marked in white. Germ cells begin their journey as stem cells (at the top). Continued division and maturation push cells away from this origin, eventually yielding mature sperm, shown in cyan. In between, magenta and yellow mark expression of RNAs essential for sperm development.

The Yamashita Lab studies how every stage of germ cell development works together to ensure continued fertility from generation to generation.

Cyan strands, dotted in white, organize in a spiral, curved clockwise from center. After 1.5 loops the spiral heads upward and the cyan ends at magenta and yellow spots before reaching a rounded point with clustered white dots.


Jaclyn Fingerhut presents on her image.

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