Fruit Fly Length of Memory

The common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) has deep memory patterns that border on becoming biological behavior traits. Given the fruit fly’s rapid life cycle, scientists can study the effects of mutation and controlled stimuli in several generations within a matter of weeks.

Through such studies related to mating, scientists have discovered that many of a fruit fly’s memories are scent-based. After a male fruit fly learns the individual rejection-scent of a mated, unreceptive female, he will remember it and never offer her a mating call again.

Although the physiology and genetic makeup of the common fruit fly differs from that of human beings, the proteins present in the genes responsible for memory in both species are strikingly similar. Combined with rapid life spans, these similar genes make fruit flies ideal candidates for simple memory research.