Why is Drosophila a good model for human?
- Of human genes known to be associated with disease, 60% are conserved in Drosophila [Schneider, 2000].
- Relevant to our work, molecules needed for normal cell proliferation as well as those needed to respond to damaged DNA are conserved between Drosophila and human. These include tumor suppressors (e.g. Rb, p53), checkpoint kinases (ATM, ATR), and growth factor signaling pathways and their components (RAS, EGFR).
- Conserved genes, such as p53 and PTEN, as well as IGFR, MAPK, EGFR, and CHK1 retain many of the functions attributable to their human homologs [e.g. Goberdhan et al. 1999].
- Drosophila models help us understand human diseases ranging from neurodegenerative diseases to diabetes to chronic mountain sickness. [The list here]
- 2017 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to:
Read more about Drosophila.
- Jeffrey Hall, Michaek Rosbash and Michael Young for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm in Drosophila.