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Professor Eduardo Moreno of the Institute of Cell Biology at the University of Berne announced the creation of the first known man made species in an article published in the open access peer reviewed journal Public Library of Science on July 25, 2012.

Moreno genetically modified the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster so that this new species Drosophila synthetica cannot reproduce with the naturally occurring species of fruit fly. Drosophila synthetica also has smaller, lighter eyes and the wing veins have a different structure than the natural species.

Species are defined as a group of individuals that can breed with each other, but are unable to interbreed with other species.

Unlike hybrids the new species of fruit fly can reproduce with members of the same species but not with naturally occurring fruit flies. Drosophila synthetica may not be able to survive outside a laboratory environment.

The intent of the research was not to develop a synthetic (man made) species but to develop a safety mechanism to avoid the hybridization of genetically modified animals and plants with wild type populations and thereby preserving biodiversity.

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