Citizen Fly Lab

With this activity, part of the international citizen science project Melanogaster: Catch the Fly! the students collaborate with the scientists of the Drosophila Population Genomics Consortium (DrosEU) in the experimental validation of new genetic variants, previously identified using bioinformatic techniques.

Citizen Fly Lab in numbers






Analized transposable elements


Citizen Fly Lab editions

How to use the Citizen Fly Lab app

You need an user account to use this application. You can create the user in the Registration tab by filling the form. Please, Write an e-mail to to get the CFL registration password.

1) Go to Select a TE and practical date to select a TE to experimentaly validate and the 3-week period for performing the activity and delivering the materials.

2) Perform the PCR experiment in class: check the planification of the activity in Instructions .

3) Upload the results obtained in Upload the PCR results .

4) Check the Calendar to see when do you have to deliver the CFL materials and to who.

Section INFORMATION contains detailed help pages and information about the application and the Citizen Fly Lab project.


Citizen Fly Lab transposable elements information

For information purposes, the following table contains all transposable elements of the Citizen Fly Lab activity . To select a TE, please use the TE selection form below.

Status meaning: TE not validated TE validated TE in progress of validation TE validation assessment by González lab

Not validated Validated In progress Evaluation by González lab

*The length of the TE determines the duration of the electrophoresis.

TE selection form

1. TE to analyze

Select a TE and a strain (in parenthesis) to analize. Note that you cannot select a TE that is being analized by other CFL participants or that has been already validated.

2. Primer design

3. Primer purchase

Practical date and equipment form

Here you can book a 3-week period to perform the practical and for sending the CFL equipment.

1. Select the CFL equipment:

Please, select "CFL Barcelona" if you're from Barcelona or nearby city/towns, "CFL InterCCAA" if you're outside Catalonia or "CFL Etopia Zaragoza" if you're going to do the practical at Etopia (Zaragoza). If your school already has the equipment and you don't need anything, select "Own equipment".

2. Select a 3-week range period in the following Google Calendar:

Make sure that you are booking 3-weeks, without overlapping with other reservation, in the 'CFL Calendar' of the corresponding equipment.

3. Indicate the dates of the practical:

Indicate the dates that you have selected: for the practical the first 2 weeks, and for the delivery the 3rd week.


4. Number of times the TE will be validated:

How many times are you going to validate this TE? If you are going to validate the same TE more than once we will send you enough flies to perform more than one DNA extraction.


CFL equipment booking calendar

Booked dates and user information

Check the Google calendars:


Upload form

1. TE(s) to upload results

2. Number of participants in the CFL practical

3. Electrophoresis photograph

Only one photo allowed. Please wait until you see the photograph preview and a 'Upload complete' status to upload the results.

4. Select which samples each lane has

5. Final interpretation


Visualize the results


Administration area

Area to check the TE data provided by the users.

Information of the schools participating:

All data:



Modify user information

Table with current user information

Modify information

Fields that you don't want to modify, leave them empty, please.



Citizen Fly Lab


  1. Planification of Citizen Fly Lab activity
  2. Select a TE to experimentally validate
  3. Upload the PCR results
  4. Visualize the results
  5. Contact

Planification of Citizen Fly Lab activity

The Citizen Fly Lab activity consist on the experimental validation of new genetic variants (transposable elements), previously identified using bioinformatic techniques in the genomes of D. melanogaster. The activity involves the following steps:
  1. Selecting a TE to experimentally validate in class
  2. Getting all the necessary material to perform the PCR experiment (see the Protocol). This can take up to 2-3 weeks.
  3. Perform the PCR experiment in class. This can take several hours, and we recommend performing the whole experiment on the same day.
  4. Uploading the results obtained through this app
We recommend a planification of the CFL to be sure that the materials will be ready for the day of the practical.

Select a TE to experimentally validate

The first step is to go to the "Select a TE" tab and choose one of the available TEs for analysis from the dropdown menu. Each TE may have a pair of primers designed by the González lab (check the "Available primers" column in the table), and you can opt to use these provided sequences. If there are no available primers, you can request primer design assistance from the González lab. Alternatively, users always have the option to design their own primers following the protocol and using the in silico PCR tool to ensure primer efficacy. Next, the primers need to be obtained, either through the School or Institute, or by requesting them from the González lab. If you prefer to purchase the primers, we also provide a link to the Sigma Aldrich company. Finally, the form asks for the number of participants and their genders, as well as the desired practical date. Once the form is submitted, both the user and the González lab will receive a confirmation email. Note that the length of the TE determines the duration of the electrophoresis: longer TEs will take long to run (see the Protocol).

Upload the PCR results

Once the PCR has finished and you have the photo of the electrophoresis result, together with the information on what is in each lane, you can upload this information to the app. First, you need to select which TE(s) you want to upload results for. If you have a single photo for the validation of 2 TEs, you can select both of them. Upload the picture, and make sure that you can see a small previoew in the app. Indicate what's in each lane by selecting the number of lanes you have and what's in each of them. Finally, you need to add the final interpretation of the PCR by completting the form. We will revise the information provided.

Visualize the results

It's possible to visualize the PCR results of other participant schools in the "Visualize the PCR results" tab.


Contact to get support and assistance with the Citizen Fly Lab activity and application.
About CFL

About Citizen Fly Lab

Citizen Fly Lab is a mobile molecular biology laboratory that allows young people from locations that cannot participate in the collection and classification of samples due to their geographical situation to participate in the #MelanogasterCTF project. The experimental data they generate will validate the predictions made by scientists from the European network DrosEU.

It is a mobile laboratory that, in its pilot phase, will be installed in formal and informal education centers in Barcelona, under the direct supervision of researchers from the Evolutionary and Functional Genomics Group (IBE, CSIC-UPF. The laboratory will be equipped with everything necessary to carry out DNA extraction and amplification, including a DNA amplification machine (PCR), an electrophoresis gel for result visualization, as well as pipettes and reagents for DNA extraction and amplification. With this equipment, students will collaborate in the experimental validation of new genetic variants already identified by scientists. Students will familiarize themselves with the data validation process, which is central to scientific research, while generating useful data for DrosEU researchers.

Citizen Fly Lab was born from the request of participants in our #MelanogasterCTF project outreach activities who, until now, could not participate due to not living in arid rural areas. In this sense, Citizen Fly Lab opens up new ways of participation in the project for students from other areas that are not suitable for sample collection and classification.