J. Cartledge

Leporid Natural History

Fly Flask (for T.H. Morgan)


two-color lithograph with hand-coloring

17 ½" x 24 ½"

Fly Flask (for T.H. Morgan) – Between 1900 and 1920 the research facilities at Columbia University unlocked many mysteries of heredity. One of the most famous of these facilities was the “Fly Room” run by Thomas Hunt Morgan. Using only fruit flies, milk bottles, bananas, magnifying glasses and math, the Columbia team showed that the appearance of hereditary traits were directly influenced by the mechanics of chromosomes dividing in the cell. In the famed white-eye experiment depicted here, Hunt and his team discovered the phenomenon of sex-linked traits, in which the gene for a trait, because it is located on the sex chromosomes, will only be exhibited in one sex of the species. In this case, the white-eyed trait is only seen in the female, as it is only found on the X chromosome.