Gallery: 16-Year-Old Student Uses Fruit Flies to Investigate Benefits o...


Anyone who has ever taken a course in biology or left produce out on the counter for a little too long will recognize the noble fruit fly. Easy to breed, feed and observe, they are the subject of choice for many hoping to study a broad range of scientific inquiries. After hearing her parents debate the benefits of organic over conventionally-raised foods, Texas student Ria Chhabra decided to use the insect to investigate their argument. The 16-year-old looked at the rates of stress, fertility and longevity of the flies and noticed that all fared better on the organic potatoes and bananas that they were fed. She has since published her results, been named as a finalist in the 2011 Broadcom Masters national scientific challenge, and partnered with a research laboratory at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

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