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Drosophila Science Fair Project Help

Chris Jones & Deirdre Sumpter 4christopher.jones at nashville.com
Sat Dec 5 23:59:26 EST 1998

In article <000501be20b3$a3b474e0$13f5fed0 at default>,
camellia1990 at email.msn.com ("Joseph Saporito") wrote:

> I need to know how much of each radiation to expose them to so I'm not just
> wasting time and the experiment doesn't really prove anything.  For example,
> in my reasearch, I read that it takes "a lot" of x-ray radiation to cause
> the genetic mutations, but they didn't define "a lot."
> My orthodontist said he will do the x-rays for me, but I need to know how
> many times to ask him to "zap" the flies.

I don't know what standard dosages are, but remember that it will vary
with the strength and proximity of the X-ray source. I may be able to come
up with some numbers for you; please email me at

cjones at ccvax.mmc.edu

to remind me.

> Also, I tested the microwave oven using common house flies, but they died
> with as little as 10% power for only 8 seconds.  Do you know of another
> microwave source I could use?  If I just put them right outside the
> microwave door would they get enough?  For how long?

Good preliminary experiment, because I think that it points out the
problem you'll have: microwaves works essentially by exciting the water
molecules in a substance, so you're ending up with cooked flies. The only
way you're going to be able to do this part of your experiment is to
expose the flies very briefly many times , so you don't end up with an
appetizer instead of an experiment :)

> I ordered a UV lamp and plan to expose the flies for 24 hours a day for
> about a week.  I read that UV is very low level.  Do you think this will be
> enough?  Too much?

UV can be low, can be high; it depends on the strength of your source,
just like with the X-rays. You may have to try several regimes to get a
good dosage here, perhaps exposing three groups and removing one after
three days, one after five, and the third after seven.

Good luck,

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