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

Variants in non-coding DNA contribute to inherited autism risk

April 19, 2018
In recent years, researchers have firmly established that gene mutations appearing for the first time, called de novo mutations, contribute to approximately one-third of cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In a new study, ...

Researchers discover link between gene variation and language

April 18, 2018
What shapes the basic features of a language?

Natural selection still at work in humans

April 18, 2018
Evolution has shaped the human race, with University of Queensland researchers finding signatures of natural selection in the genome that influence traits associated with fertility and heart function.

Gene therapy for beta-thalassemia safe, effective in people

April 18, 2018
In a powerful example of bench-to-bedside science showing how observations made in the lab can spark life-altering therapies in clinic, an international team of clinician-investigators has announced that gene therapy for ...

Potential lines of attack against prostate cancer

April 17, 2018
Researchers from The University of East Anglia (UEA) have contributed to the world's largest study into genes that drive prostate cancer – identifying 80 molecular weaknesses that could be targeted by drugs to treat the ...

Epstein-Barr virus linked to seven serious diseases

April 16, 2018
A far-reaching study conducted by scientists at Cincinnati Children's reports that the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)—best known for causing mononucleosis—also increases the risks for some people of developing seven other major ...

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.