Redis Experiment

Flies have often been viewed as pesky creatures. Most people are too busy trying to get rid of flies to even think about studying them. In the middle of the 17th century, however, the Italian scientist Francesco Redi (1626-1697) noticed and described the different developmental forms of flies. Redi observed that tiny wormlike maggots turned into sturdy oval cases, from which flies eventually emerge. He also observed that maggots seemed to appear where adult flies had previously landed.

These observations led Redi to question the commonly held belief that flies were generated spontaneously from rotting meat. Figure 14-1 shows an experiment that Redi conducted in 1668 to test his hypothesis that meat kept away from adult flies would remain free of maggots.

figure 14-1

In Redi's experiment, maggots were found only in the control jars because that was the only place where adult flies could reach the meat to lay eggs.

figure 14-1

In Redi's experiment, maggots were found only in the control jars because that was the only place where adult flies could reach the meat to lay eggs.

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