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Professor of Genetics, Hong Ling, Dies of COVID-19 Infection

Hong Ling (Chinese: 红凌, 27 November 1966 – 7 February 2020) was a Chinese geneticist, professor, and doctoral advisor at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

Hong was educated at Wuhan University, majoring in biology, where he graduated in July 1987 and obtained a bachelor's degree. In December 1994, he graduated from the University of Arizona with a doctor's degree in biochemistry. After graduation, he started his career as a biochemist at the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology (MCB) of the University of California, Berkeley. Since March 2007, he served as a professor of molecular biology at the School of Life Science and Technology of Huazhong University of Science and Technology. He was studying major and rare human diseases using both human subjects and model organisms such as Drosophila and mouse.

Drosophila is a genus of flies, belonging to the family Drosophilidae, whose members are often called "small fruit flies" or (less frequently) pomace flies, vinegar flies, or wine flies, a reference to the characteristic of many species to linger around overripe or rotting fruit. They should not be confused with the Tephritidae, a related family, which are also called fruit flies (sometimes referred to as "true fruit flies"); tephritids feed primarily on unripe or ripe fruit, with many species being regarded as destructive agricultural pests, especially the Mediterranean fruit fly.

One species of Drosophila, in particular, D. melanogaster, has been heavily used in research in genetics and is a common model organism in developmental biology. The terms "fruit fly" and "Drosophila" are often used synonymously with D. melanogaster in modern biological literature. The entire genus, however, contains more than 1,500 species and is very diverse in appearance, behavior, and breeding habitat.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in China, Hong contracted the coronavirus. On 7 February 2020, he died from the infection at Wuhan Union Hospital.


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