Encyclopedia of Experiments: Biology
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- A fly aspirator allows researchers to safely transfer live flies without physical damage or the use of anesthesia, which may affect experimental results.
To assemble the aspirator, you will need plastic tubing, two 1-milliliter modified pipette tips, a nylon mesh, and a trimmed 200-microliter tip. Create a fly holding chamber at one end of the tubing with the larger pipette tips and the mesh. The mesh is kept in place by the overlap of the two tips.
Insert the smaller pipette tip into the other end of the tubing to create a mouthpiece. To capture a fly, hold the open end of the fly chamber close to the fly. Provide suction with your mouth from the other end of the tube to pull the fly into the aspirator. The mesh prevents the fly from moving any further down the tube.
To expel the captured fly, align the chamber opening with the target, then gently blow into the tube, providing enough force to push the fly out of the chamber. In this example, we will use a fly aspirator to load flies into a grooming chamber apparatus.
- To begin the experiment, prepare an aspirator to move live Drosophila from a culture vial to the grooming chamber. Using scissors, cut 1.5 feet of tygon tubing. Cut at least 1 inch off the tip of a 1-milliliter disposable micropipette tip and hold a 1 centimeter square piece of mesh over the 0.196-inch opening of the cut tip.
Snugly place a fresh 1-milliliter micropipette tip over the mesh and cut tip to create a holding chamber for flies. Cut the extreme tip of the new micropipette tip to widen the opening enough to allow the passage of a single fly. The hole will roughly match the opening of the grooming chamber.
Snugly fit the nested tips onto the end of the Tygon tubing. Push the tips into the tube to ensure a tight fit to allow for vacuum pressure. On the other end of the tubing, cut the tip of a 200-milliliter micropipette tip and fit the narrow cut end into the tubing to form the mouth side of the aspirator.