Fruit flies have been the subject of genetic experiments and observations for over fifty years.  Repeatedly, they have been touted as proof of evolution in one form or another.  It’s no surprise to see another article on a study conducted on fruit flies, but this study is different from all of the genetic studies that have been done. 

A team of scientists from Carnegie Mellon University and Israel have been studying the way the tiny sensory hair-like bristles in the fruit fly arrange themselves during embryonic development.   What they discovered is that each individual bristle forms from a nerve cell known as a sensory organ precursor or SOP.  The SOP is joined to other nerve cells but not to any of the neighboring SOP’s around it.  The fruit fly uses these bristles to sense and feel things around it. 

In this confocoal miscroscope image of the pupal stage of fruit fly development, nerve cells that self-select to become sensory organ precursors (SOPs) are identified by arrows. These cells send chemical signals to neighboring cells, blocking them from becoming SOPs and causing them to fluoresce red in the image. (Credit: Image courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University)

According to the researchers the embryonic cells that develop into the SOPs self-select themselves into doing so.  As they start their SOP development, they stop any neighboring cells from also becoming SOPs via chemical signals they send out.  In all of this embryonic development, the researchers state that the cells involved have no information as to how they are suppose to connect to each other.  During a period of three hours, all of the cells have either become SOPs or the neighbor to an SOP.  After these critical three hours, the fruit fly surfaces from the pupal stage as an adult. 

What impressed the researchers is that somehow, without any prior knowledge or direction and a minimal amount of communication with neighboring cells, a small number of nerve cells raise up as leaders.  These leaders then provide circuiting directions to the other nerve cells touching it. 

Based on the probabilistic method of SOP development in the fruit fly, the team of scientists designed a new distributed computing algorithm.  This new system is suppose to advance the ability of a computer network system to where the number of location of nodes within the network are not permanent.  The systems that may be benefited by this new networking model includes those for air traffic control and wireless sensor networks like those used in field monitoring and studies at lakes and waterways and even groups of robots. 

One of the aspects of the new networking system is that the system should continue to operate if any of the individual elements fail.  This is referred to as a distributive approach to performing computational tasks. 

One thing that intrigued me about this was the fact that the researchers claimed that the nerve cells of the fruit fly had no prior information.  If the DNA of the fruit fly, which has been extensively studied, contained no information of the development of this system, then how did the nerve cells know what to do and when to do it?  Somewhere in the embryonic development, something has to trigger the formation of the first SOP, which then could be a domino or cascade effect for the development of the rest of them.

Amazingly, these scientists believe that this complex system formed itself by random chance processes over millions of years.  Yet, look at the amount of man power, time, and learned knowledge that has been expended in their attempts to replicate a system that they believe had no intelligence behind it.  Seems if they were true to their evolutionary beliefs, they would continue to just put all of the pieces and compounds and chemicals and energy together and hope that somewhere along the next million or so years that the networking system they desire will magically form all on its own. 

To be honest, this article is another example of how intricately designed fruit flies and everything else in the universe are.  Only an infinitely intelligent being could have created the marvelous world around us and all of the living things that inhabit it.  Hooray for fruit flies and their testimony to our Creator God. 

I bet the fruit fly knows more about their origin than the scientists do.  But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?  In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.  Job 12:7-10


Fruit Fly Nervous System Provides New Solution to Fundamental Computer Network System, Science Daily, Jan. 14, 2011.

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