Punctured fruit flies have helped researchers unlock some of the mysteries of wound healing in a step to speedier injury recovery with fewer scars.

Krasnow and colleague Michael Galko spent hours making tiny punctures in Drosophila fruit fly larvae and then observing and analyzing how the cells recovered. They chose the fruit flies because of their long history of genetic study.

To create a wound, the researchers used a needle about the diameter of a human eyelash and poked a hole through the cuticle and into the epidermis of the fly larvae. By pinching the cuticle, they could also create a wound that wouldn’t form an opaque scab. This technique was used so that the researchers could easily see changes in the cells during the healing process.

Once the pair had created the wounds, they could view the healing process through a microscope. They observed that punctures caused immediate bleeding but that they were plugged quickly with a scab.

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