Research team develops new genetic tool to expand library of fruit flies and accelerate biomedical discovery

April 5, 2018, Baylor College of Medicine

For more than 100 years, the humble fruit fly has been used to understand fundamental biological processes and has been a crucial tool for rapid preclinical gene discovery for myriads of human diseases. Now, an exciting study published in eLife reports on the development of a large versatile library of fruit flies that can be used to perform efficient and elegant in vivo gene-specific manipulations using the new protocol and gene-specific integration vector CRIMIC (CRISPR-Mediated Integrated Cassette).

"We anticipate that this new collection of approximately 1,000 fly strains will significantly alter how we do fly research. These transgenic flies will accelerate the pace of biomedical discovery by serving as an easy 'one-stop shop' to answer a wide array of questions for researchers all over the world," said Dr. Hugo Bellen, professor in the Departments of Molecular and Human Genetics and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine and investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital.

"In a nutshell, we have now adapted existing technology to alter thousands of flies and systematically characterize the expression and function of genes in great detail," Bellen said.

For instance, the technology should allow scientists to determine the role of a gene and the corresponding protein in any cell where the gene is expressed and whether the loss of the gene causes irreversible damage. This may be important for that cause human .

"Knowing that these flies have already helped discover many new human diseases and that they allow precise dissection of function of many variants and mutations makes the venture worthy and productive," Bellen said.

Most fly stocks are available from the Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center.

Explore further: Mitochondrial metabolite linked to regulation of neurotransmission

More information: Pei-Tseng Lee et al. A gene-specific T2A-GAL4 library for Drosophila, eLife (2018). DOI: 10.7554/eLife.35574

Related Stories

Mitochondrial metabolite linked to regulation of neurotransmission

December 27, 2017
A team of researchers has discovered a novel level of regulation of the communication between neurons and other cells. The metabolite alpha-ketoglutarate, a product of the metabolism of mitochondria, the energy generators ...

Genes Nardilysin and OGDHL linked to human neurological conditions

December 22, 2016
An international team of scientists has discovered that the gene, OGDHL, a key protein required for normal function of the mitochondria—the energy-producing factory of the cell—and its chaperone, nardilysin (NRD1) are ...

Distinct neurological syndromes can be the result of variations in gene ATAD3A

September 15, 2016
A team of scientists from a number of institutions around the world, including Baylor College of Medicine, has discovered that rare neurological syndromes for which there was no cause can be the result of variations in the ...

Why fruit flies are a good genetic model for human disease study

September 29, 2014
If you have a Facebook account, you are likely to have seen someone pour an ice bucket on themselves in the name of raising awareness for amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a disease that affects nerve cells in the ...

Scientists identify novel precursor to neurodegeneration

January 15, 2015
Alteration of lipid metabolism in brain cells promotes the formation of lipid droplets that presage the loss of neurons, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute ...

Recommended for you

Analytical tool predicts genes that can cause disease by producing altered proteins

July 19, 2018
Predicting genes that can cause disease due to the production of truncated or altered proteins that take on a new or different function, rather than those that lose their function, is now possible thanks to an international ...

Childhood stress leaves lasting mark on genes

July 18, 2018
Kids who experience severe stress are more likely to develop a host of physical and mental health problems by the time they reach adulthood, including anxiety, depression and mood disorders. But how does early life stress ...

Study shows DNA methylation related to liver disease among obese patients

July 18, 2018
DNA methylation is a molecular process that helps enable our bodies to repair themselves, fight infection, get rid of environmental toxins, and even to think. But sometimes this process goes awry.

Protein found to be key component in irregularly excited brain cells

July 17, 2018
In a new study in mice, researchers have identified a key protein involved in the irregular brain cell activity seen in autism spectrum disorders and epilepsy. The protein, p53, is well-known in cancer biology as a tumor ...

World's largest study on allergic rhinitis reveals new risk genes

July 17, 2018
An international team of scientists led by Helmholtz Zentrum München and University of Copenhagen has presented the largest study so far on allergic rhinitis in the journal Nature Genetics. The data of nearly 900,000 participants ...

New platform poised to be next generation of genetic medicines

July 16, 2018
A City of Hope scientist has discovered a gene-editing technology that could efficiently and accurately correct the genetic defects that underlie certain diseases, positioning the new tool as the basis for the next generation ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.