The last thing we want are intelligent flies who can predict when we're about to smack them. We've had it with swatting flies away and getting them away from our food, but a group of geneticists have developed a generation of fruit flies that can count.
Count? 123? Yes. Apparently it's possible, and it could give researchers a clue into dyscalculia - a dyslexia-related learning disability that impedes a person's ability to understand math.
The scientists from Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and the University of California gave each batch of flies a 20-minute session of basic math learning. Afterwards, they were tested on their skills using the following method. According to Wired UK:
The flies were exposed to two, three or four flashes of light, with two or four flashes coinciding with a shake of the container the flies were kept in. Following a pause, the flies were again subjected to the flashing light, however none prepared themselves for a repeat of the shake since they could not discern a difference between two, three or four flashes.
Then came the math-minded 40th generation of flies, which had evolved enough to understand a shake was coming after two or four flashes. However, it doesn't end there. Scientists know the flies have evolved, but they need to figure out how their brains changed so they can translate those findings to human beings.