The Crick has a specialist Fly Facility, which takes care of 15,000 different fly families. Technicians working in the facility run a constant, complex breeding programme; if a single tube of flies is mislabelled or neglected, a unique family could be lost forever.
Technicians in the Fly Facility know this insect’s anatomy like the back of their hand, but it would be impossible to memorise the myriad differences between thousands of fly families.
Grace Davies completed her biology degree whilst working part time before joining the Crick. All the Crick scientists whose work relates to flies use the lab in the Fly Facility, so technicians like Grace find themselves an integral part of their research.
To decipher the DNA instructions that make a fruit fly, altered DNA is inserted into fly embryos, which scientists then study once the flies hatch. Supervisor Joachim Kurt has the delicate and highly skilled task of injecting this altered DNA into embryos. This role requires a cool head and incredibly steady hands.