Northwestern biology students present research

Three Northwestern College biology students gave a presentation at the 128th annual Iowa Academy of Science conference April 22–23 at Grand View University in Des Moines.

The students presented their poster, “The Effect of Eyeless and Wingless Mutations on the Reproductive Fitness of Fruit Flies.” Their research focused on how genetic mutations in fruit flies, specifically the absence of eyes or wings, affected reproductive fitness. They found that wingless and eyeless mutations exhibited in fruit flies did not affect the viability and development of offspring, but they did negatively affect the reproductive success of male mutant flies via either male fertility or female choice.

Students presenting at the conference included Alison Schutt, a sophomore biology health professions major from Alton; Skyler Hill-Norby, a junior Spanish major from Alton; and Joe Tolsma, a junior biology ecological science major from Orange City. Austin Blankespoor, a junior biology health professions major from Rock Valley, and Calvin Van Surksum, a sophomore biology education major also from Rock Valley, contributed to the research but are not attending the conference.

The Iowa Academy of Science promotes science research, education and the public understanding of science, and recognizes excellence in these endeavors. The organization’s annual conference attracted hundreds of attendees for two days of science presentations by national, regional and Iowa speakers. The event hosted over 100 Iowa-based oral and poster research presentations.