The June issue of Nature Methods goes live today, with several papers, coincidentally, reporting on methods for the study of fruit flies.
As discussed in our editorial, Michael Dickinson, Pietro Perona and colleagues use machine vision to track individual flies as they interact within a group (Branson et al); this may prove useful to study social behaviour and how it is influenced by specific genes or neural circuits. In a News and Views Michael Reiser proposes that, with approaches such as these, phenotyping methods may be catching up with the well-established molecular genetics toolkit available for the fly. But of course, improvements in genetic resources are still needed. Also in the June issue, two groups (those of Hugo Bellen and Pavel Tomancak) present libraries that cover the entire genomes of Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila pseudoobscura: Venken et al present high-coverage BAC libraries in the P[acman] system for D. melanogaster and Ejsmont et al present fosmid libaries for D. melanogaster and D. pseudoobscura. These resources allow modification of genes by recombineering (for instance, to make mutants or to add tags for visualization) as well as integration into precise sites in the genome, and should facilitate a wide variety of studies – including behavioural analyses – that require transgenesis in the fly.