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mini-INTACT Homogenizer

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Laboratory Tools
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mini-INTACT Homogenizer

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Efficient grinding of Drosophila heads for epigenomic analysis in small volumes

Experiments involving molecular analysis of rare cell types from Drosophila brains often require large numbers of flies to recover enough material. This limits the experiments that researchers can do since more specific targeting of neurons means smaller numbers of relevant tissue, and that targeted tissue is hard to isolate.

The grinder described here is optimized to miniaturize homogenization volumes and reduce sample loss. Combining this design with some methodological tweaks described in mini-INTACT, also published in BMC Biology, protocol users can get ~100 fold reduction in the required sample for downstream biochemical analysis.

This motorized grinder called ‘mini-INTACT homogenizer’ for tissue homogenization is optimized for extractions of neuronal nuclei from small volumes and small numbers of flies. mini-INTACT protocol combined with this homogenizer helps reduce the number of fly heads needed for experiments about 100-fold compared with the previously described INTACT method in Drosophila (Henry et al., 2012) that used Yamato continuous flow homogenizer (US patent 4307846).

The mini-INTACT homogenizer was utilized in a study that investigated epigenetic changes caused by social isolation, with only 200-250 fly heads, targeting ~0.1% of fly neuronal nuclei. The new method, called mini-INTACT, also here, opens the field of behavioral epigenetics in Drosophila to cell type-specific studies. 


Video: the mini-INTACT Homogenizer in action


The design files for the fly-head homogenizer are available for free non-profit research via the Flintbox link at the right.

For commercial rights, please contact

Tech ID:

Please reference 2019-002 in any communications

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Michael Perham
Director, Innovations and External Relations
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