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RMS Scientific Imaging Competition 2021 Get Ova It

Fluorescently-labelled fruit fly ovaries make an award-winning image

24 September 2021

Get Ova It

This prize-winning microscope image shows a pair of female fruit fly ovaries packed full of developing eggs, highlighted using fluorescent dyes. While an insect’s ovaries may seem a long way from our own human organs, they can reveal a lot about the underlying biological principles guiding how cells develop and specialise in other species, including our own. Fruit fly ovaries contain three different types of stem cells, which keep multiplying throughout a lifetime. In fact, researchers have been studying fruit fly ovaries for more than 60 years to figure out how stem cells work and understand what happens when they go wrong. As well as being able to fluorescently mark different ovarian stem cells and track them down the microscope, it’s also relatively simple to do genetic engineering in flies to understand how different genes contribute to maintaining stem cell populations, providing vital insights into infertility and other health conditions.

Written by Kat Arney

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What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.