The Holy Quran invites us to study the variety of life present on Earth.

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“And Allah has created every animal from water. Of them are some that go upon their bellies, and of them are some that go upon two feet and among them are some that go upon four. Allah creates what He pleases. Surely Allah has the power to do all that he pleases.” (AL-NUR: 45)

 

There are almost 1.9 million species of living organisms that have been described, with the total number of described and undescribed species ranging from 11 to 12 million according to a report {1}, though this number varies widely with the numbers in other reports. But just counting the numbers doesn’t matter much. The real thing to do is to discover, describe and classify the variety, which The Holy Quran has provoked us to do.

The Qur’anic verse mentioned above prompts us to observe and study the diverse forms of life created by Allah Almighty on the surface of Earth. Even the small insects abundantly present in our environment provide us with thousands of opportunities to be used as research organisms in almost all the fields of Biology.

The number of species of animals on earth is almost 1.4 million, out of which 1 million are insects {1}. One of these insects is the genus Drosophila. This fly is very important with respect to genetic studies and has been used in genetic experiments internationally for last 100 year. All over the world, 1579 species of Drosophila have been discovered {2}. Some of them are found to be cosmopolitan, while about 90% of the total number of species are endemic to their respective regions {3}. Only 20 have so far been reported from Pakistan. {4}{5}{6}

Considering the importance of this fly, a project has been started at Abdus Salam School of Science Nusrat Jahan College, Rabwah {6}. All the research is being facilitated by Nazarat Taleem, Sadar Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Pakistan.

We have developed a fly lab, a research team working in the supervision of author are Miss Shazia Noor, Rashida Sultana and Fatima Batool {7}.Currently found variety of drosophila from different regions of Pakistan IS propagating in laboratory including non –melanogaster species.

It is critically important to know the types of various species of this fly present in a country as it greatly helps in conducting any advanced research in the field of genetics. In this field of research we lag almost a 100 years behind the international researchers, as Morgan and his students used Drosophila for genetic studies in around the mid of the 20th century. They contributed a lot in formulating the basic principles of genetics. The aim of this project is to explore the fauna Drosophila and bring it to the genetic research in Pakistan. The unfortunate delay in this research demands that we now jump not only hundred years forward when we would have discovered all the species available in Pakistan but also work with great pace to step in with the international researchers. This project of ours will hopefully increase this process many folds. At present, very few people in Pakistan are using this fly in as research organism.

This is a very broad field of studies with many objectives, the three main objectives of them are as follows:

To find out how many species there are in different geographical areas of Pakistan.

To use Drosophila in different biological research projects.

To teach students to use Drosophila to have a hands-on experience and develop confidence.

In many developed countries, Drosophila is used in genetic studies for undergraduates which creates enough confidence in them to use it later for further research whereas in Pakistan, though almost every graduate in biology subjects knows the history and importance of Drosophila but a few have even seen it. One of our objectives is to make Pakistan also one of the countries where this easy-to-propagate insect with short life cycle will be used by our students in their research projects.

 

References:

1- Chapman, A. D. 2009. Numbers of Living Species in Australia and the World (PDF) (2nd ed.). Canberra: Australian Biological Resources Study. pp. 1–80.

2- https://stockcenter.ucsd.edu/info/geography.php

3- Patterson, J. T. and Stone, W. S. Evolution in the genus drosophila. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1952.

4-Shahjehan, Ia; Khan, Hu; Iqbal, F., 2004: Survey of Drosophila fauna of NWFP, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Zoology 36(4): 339-341.

5- Amin ud Din, Muhammad, K. Mazhar, S. Haque, and M. Ahmed. 2005. A preliminary report on Drosophila fauna of Islamabad (Capital, Pakistan). Dros.Inf.Serv. 88: 6.

6- Tahir, Durr-e-Samin. 2013. A preliminary report on Drosophila fauna of Lahore, Pakistan. Dros.Inf.Serv. 96: 56.

7- Research team at Abdus Salam School of Science. Nusrat Jehan College Rabwah.

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