Published: Sept. 30, 2020

Fruit flies have the uncanny ability to wake up from a months-long hibernation right when their food of choice is at its peak. A new study coauthored by Gregory Ragland, Assistant Professor of Integrative Biology, found many genes responsible for setting the fruit flies’ internal alarm clocks, and that an imperceptibly slow development during dormancy is key to their rapid genetic adaption. “In addition to the 24-hour circadian clock that we all have, many fruit flies have an internal seasonal timer,” says Ragland. “They pop up, exploit their host, and disappear for nine or 10 months. There’s a useful marriage between what we know about the ecology and genetics of this process, which is why we approached this as a collaborative effort.”

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