Although it may look like several slightly different images of a bird, this is actually a series of many planes of section through the testes of a male fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). The purple color indicates germline stem-cells, green shows cell nuclei, red is the extracellular matrix that supports cells, and blue-green indicates maturing sperm. We use the fruit fly as a model of stem-cell function since the germline can be easily studied in this model. We expect that studies of stem cell behavior in simple organisms like the fruit fly will lead to discoveries that will help us better understand stem-cell derived diseases like cancer.
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