Meat Becomes Fruit Flies

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This Food Non-Fiction podcast episode is about fruit flies. They seem to appear out of nowhere. In fact, people used to believe that small organisms like flies could be spontaneously generated from other matter, whether living or nonliving. This was called "the doctrine of spontaneous generation" or "Aristotelian abiogenesis". The concept of spontaneous generation was popular from Aristotle’s time (somewhere between 384-322 BCE) to the 1600’s. In 1668, Italian physician, Francesco Redi, conducted an experiment to disprove the doctrine of spontaneous generation. He put meat in jars, covered one jar with gauze (so that only air could get in) and left the other one open. If spontaneous generation was possible, then flies would have grown in either condition, but no maggots were seen in the covered jar.


Mother Nature Network
The Bug Squad
Book: Lords of the Fly: Drosophila Genetics and the Experimental Life
Article: Achilles and the Maggots
Article: Francesco Redi's Description of the Spontaneous Generation of Gall Flies 

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