A Christmas Treat? by Andrew Moreland
My name is Andrew Moreland, from Cheltenham High School. For my independent project, I decided to test the effects of nutmeg (yes nutmeg) on the fruit flies. I want to test how it affects the female flies’ fertility and also how it affects the males’ negative geotaxis (a fly’s innate response to gravity which is trying to go against it). I think that the nutmeg will have a negative effect on the flies, reducing the amount of embryos produced by the female and the males will not be able to or be less effective in performing the negative geotaxis. The way I used the nutmeg on my flies was by adding it to their food in water solutions of different amounts. Seeing how different amounts (high, low, and medium) of the nutmeg will have an effect of the flies.
I chose nutmeg to test in this project because I wanted to use something that was easy to get a hold of and common. I learned somewhere, I can’t remember exactly who told me or where I read it but, in high amounts, nutmeg can be toxic. After further research I found that, in the 1800s before more modern medicinal practices, nutmeg was used to induce abortions. This made me want to see if it affected the female flies’ fertility. Also in the 1960s, people tried to use nutmeg as a drug, because it contains myristicin, a natural compound that has similar effects to LSD. This is why I want to see how it would affect the innate behavior of the male flies. These first three weeks of the TRIP Initiative have been one of the most fun experiences I have ever done. The lab experience has been very eye opening for me, making me want to pursue this in college. Also, meeting new people has been a very good experience. It makes me happy that there are so many people that share my interests and I can relate to.
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