How to design a genetic mating scheme: a basic training package for Drosophila genetics
Supplementary files for:
Roote, J., and Prokop, A. (2013). How to design a genetic mating scheme: a basic training package for Drosophila genetics. G3 (Bethesda) 3, 353-358.
Drosophila melanogaster is a powerful model organism for biological research. The essential
and common instrument of fly research is genetics, the art of applying Mendelian rules in the specific context of Drosophila with its unique classical genetic tools and the breadth of modern genetic tools and strategies brought in by molecular biology, transgenic technologies and the use of recombinases. Training newcomers to fly genetics is a complex and time-consuming task but too important to be left to chance. Surprisingly, suitable training resources for beginners currently are not available. Here we provide a training package for basic Drosophila genetics, designed to ensure that basic knowledge on all key areas is covered while reducing the time invested by trainers. First, a manual introduces to fly history, rationale for mating schemes, fly handling, Mendelian rules in fly, markers and balancers, mating scheme design, and transgenic technologies. Its self-study is followed by a practical training session on gender and marker selection, introducing to real flies in the laboratory. Next, through self-study of a PowerPoint presentation, trainees are guided step-by-step through a mating scheme. Finally, to consolidate knowledge, trainees are asked to design similar mating schemes reflecting routine tasks in a fly laboratory. This exercise requires individual feedback but also provides unique opportunities for trainers to spot weaknesses and strengths of each trainee and take remedial action. This training package is being successfully applied at the Manchester fly facility (5th link below) and may serve as a model for further training resources covering other aspects of fly research.
A light version of the manual for teaching on undergraduate genetics courses or training short-term project students can be accessed through the last link below.