Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 30 October 2002
Flies Like Us
In the movie The Fly, a scientist mixes his DNA with a fly's and turns into a giant insect with problem body hair. Outside of Hollywood, scientists are mixing human and fly DNA to tease out the secrets of brain-destroying diseases
Abstract: Although our lineage separated from theirs 500 million years ago, fruit flies are proving to be informative models for human neurodegenerative diseases. Scientists have augmented the insects with human disease-causing genes, reproducing the molecular mayhem and some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and other killers. The insects are easy to genetically manipulate, get old in a hurry, and are light on the wallet, making them valuable for untangling the molecular causes of neural degeneration and screening potential treatments. Using flies carrying a gene that is defective in some Parkinson's patients, scientists have already identified a protein that suppresses the neural damage from the disease.
Citation: M. Leslie, Flies Like Us. Science's SAGE KE (30 October 2002), http://sageke.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sageke;2002/43/ns7
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