T. H. Morgan's choice of Drosophila a century ago for studying the mechanisms of heredity has resulted in the lowly fruit fly's becoming one of the model organisms of biology. Drosophila has played a critical role in revolutions in genetics and molecular biology--the announcement in 1981 that the P transposable element could be used to create transgenic fruit flies also assured Drosophila a prominent place in genome research. Despite this utility and convenience, a couple of very important tools--homologous recombination and targeted mutagenesis--have been missing from the fruit fly molecular tool kit, tools that yeast and mouse researchers take for granted. Rong and Golic now report a method of gene targeting by homologous recombination in the fruit fly that may also find use in other organisms. A Perspective by Engels describes the method in greater detail.
Engels, W.R. (2000) Genetics: Reversal of fortune for Drosophila geneticists? Science 288:1973-1975. [Full Text]