31 August 2023 Part of a fruit fly embryo imaged against a dark background, with nuclei stained with DAPI (white), and a cluster of pole cells, marked by Vasa protein (yellow)

Spotlight: Off to the pole

Picture of the week, Science For a fruit fly embryo to develop correctly, key factors need to get to the right place at the right time – a journey that starts in the developing egg, as seen in this image from the Ephrussi Group at EMBL Heidelberg



4 August 2022 An illustration provides representation of fingers hovering over a cell phone

Zooming in to get the full picture

Science EMBL and UW researchers plus additional collaborators have constructed a complete map of fruit fly embryonic development using machine learning. This research is foundational to better understanding overall embryo development in other species, including humans.



23 March 2022 Two Drosophila embryos stained with fluorescent dye on a purple background that indicates either solid or liquid state

From liquid to solid to drive development

Science Condensates are membraneless organelles that control specific functions within a cell. Scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have shown how the physical state of condensates can influence biological function.



25 February 2022 Three colourful overlapping circles arranged in a row, a fruit-fly embryo being visible within each. Small circles within the embryos represent cell lineages.

Converging lenses on embryo development

Science Researchers from the Furlong group at EMBL have come up with a way to observe the development of fruit-fly embryos simultaneously at the genetic and cellular levels, generating a high-resolution and integrated view of how different cell lineages form.



11 August 2020 Different parts of a fruit fly arranged into an artificial green eye.

The eye of science

Picture of the week This image is a composite of lateral pentascolopidial organs, a wing imaginal disc pouch, and an epithelial wound in a Drosophila larva. The organs are arranged here like eyelashes. Cells surrounding an epidermal wound appear as the iris and pupil of this artistic eye.



16 June 2020 Composite image of fly larvae organs making up a flower

From fly to flower

Picture of the week In this composite image, visual artist Mona Kakanj assembled three different biological structures in fly larvae into a flower. The original images were taken as part of a research project by Parisa Kakanj in Maria Leptin’s group.



14 April 2020

Gazing at healing wounds

Picture of the week What may look like a branch of a tree with the first flower buds emerging after winter are, in fact, tracheal cells of a fruit fly larva and their nuclei.



11 February 2020

Breathe in, breathe out

Picture of the week This image shows the tracheal system of a live fruit fly larva. Daniel Rios from the Leptin Group and Dimitri Kromm from the Hufnagel Group used this advanced microscope to investigate the dynamics of tracheal cells during development.



29 October 2019

Inside out, and grub becomes fly

Picture of the week The three bluish blobs shown in the top right corner of this image may not resemble the sphere of noodles that is the human brain, but they are still essential – at least for the fruit fly. This Picture of the Week shows the brain lobes of Drosophila. It’s an insect so tiny and so […]



25 September 2019

A giant called dumpy

Picture of the week Fruit flies have something that we don’t have: they produce a protein called dumpy. This protein is the largest created by insects, and is comparable in size to the largest human protein – titin. While titin is vital for our muscle function, dumpy connects the soft cells of the insect’s…



1 July 2019 The dynamic process of cell division.

Drawing knowledge

Science A conversation about art-science collaborations and the importance of drawing in biology.



23 February 2017

Building labs with flies

Alumni Flies can do a lot for science, inside and outside the lab. EMBL alumna Isabel Palacios explains how



8 May 2014 Microscopy image

Remodelling the cell

Science The balance behind membrane changes that turn one cell into 6000 as a fruit fly embryo develops



2 February 2012 Fruit fly embryo showing the cells that will become the gut and heart

Collective action

Science If you wanted to draw your family tree, you could start by searching for people who share your surname. Cells, of course, don’t have surnames, but scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have found that genetic switches called enhancers, and the…



24 June 2010 These microscopy images show that a protein from the NSL complex (green) and MOF (red) both bind to all chromosomes in male (right) and female (left) fruit flies - overlap is shown in purple. On the male X chromosome, MOF binds not only to promoter regions but also to the body of the genes, generating a brighter signal (pink). Image credits: Akhtar/EMBL.

A life-changing partnership

Science Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, and the Max-Planck Institute of Immunobiology Freiburg have identified a novel protein complex that regulates around 4000 genes in the fruit fly Drosophila and likely plays an important role in mammals, too.…



2 May 2010 These microscopy images show the region of the embryo larva that will develop into the adult fruit fly’s wing. In cells genetically manipulated so that PR-DUB cannot remove the gene-silencing tag (left), a gene which would normally be silenced becomes turned on (red) - a situation which is corrected when PR-DUB’s activity is restored (right). Image credits: J.Mueller/EMBL.

Tags on, tags off

Science During embryonic development, proteins called Polycomb group complexes turn genes off when and where their activity must not be present, preventing specialised tissues and organs from forming in the wrong places. They also play an important role in processes like stem cell differentiation and…



4 November 2009 fluorescence microscopy images of fruit fly embryos

Deciphering the regulatory code

Science Embryonic development is like a well-organised building project, with the embryo’s DNA serving as the blueprint from which all construction details are derived. Cells carry out different functions according to a developmental plan, by expressing, i.e. turning on, different combinations of genes.…



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