Navigation Links
Fruit fly research set to revolutionize study of birth defects

A Queen's University study of fruit flies that may revolutionize the way birth defects are studied has identified the genes affected by a widely-prescribed drug known to cause birth defects.

Methotrexate (MTX), a popular cancer-fighting drug also used to treat psoriasis, ectopic pregnancies, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus, lasts a long time in the body and causes birth defects in children from women who have it in their systems. The study of the drug's effect on fruit flies has allowed Queen's researchers including graduate student Joslynn Affleck to identify the genes on which the drug acts.

"We hope that through this model system we can provide insight into mammalian birth defects, which may be expected to increase in frequency in the future, due to the recent elevated use of MTX," says Affleck.

Many of the genes found to be affected by MTX are involved in cell cycle regulation, signal transduction, transport, defense response, transcription, or various aspects of metabolism.

"This study shows that MTX treatment has multiple targets," says Affleck. "And this provides us with a novel invertebrate model for the study of drugs that cause birth defects." The findings, funded by NSERC, are set to be published by Toxicological Sciences in the New Year.

"This is not a journal in the habit of publishing insect studies," notes biologist Dr. Virginia Walker, who co-authored the study. "The neat thing about this work is that fruit flies treated with this drug show 'birth defects' that are hauntingly similar to birth defects in human babies. Babies have bent limbs, tufts of hair and bulging eyes and the fruit flies have bent legs (and wings), tufts of bristles and rough eyes."

While identifying this gene array is significant in its own right, the successful use of fruit flies in this kind of study is a revelation to the researchers who view it as an efficient model for the initial testing of "rescue" therapies to try to prevent birth defects. Scientists can study the effect of the drug on the genes of as many as three generations of fruit flies in a month using readily available scientific tools, speeding up study times while keeping costs low.

"It also adds to the growing list of roles fruit flies can take," says Walker. Fruit flies are already used as models for aging, neural disease and cancer.


Source:Queen's University

Related biology news :

1. X-Ray Beams And Fruit Fly Flight Simulator Aid Scientists View Of Muscle Power
2. Fruit fly studies open new window on cancer research
3. How Fruitflies Know Its Time for Lunch
4. Fruit flys beating heart helps identify human heart disease genes
5. Fruit fly reveals a potential connection between dementia and cancer
6. Fruit fly dating game provides clues to our reproductive prowess
7. Fruit fly aggression studies have relevance to humans, animals
8. Psst! Coffee drinkers: Fruit flies have something to tell you about caffeine
9. Fruit fly study identifies gene mutation that regulates sensitivity to alcohol
10. Fruit flies and global warming -- Some like it hot
11. Fruit fly gene research may shed light on human disease processes
Post Your Comments:

(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015   MedNet Solutions , ... entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce ... Tech Association (MHTA) as one of only three finalists ... "Software – Small and Growing" category. The Tekne Awards honor ... have shown superior technology innovation and leadership. ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Daon, a global leader in mobile biometric ... new version of its IdentityX Platform , IdentityX ... have already installed IdentityX v4.0 and are ... FIDO UAF certified server component as an option ... features. These customers include some of the largest and ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, ... the explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and the ... book, The Internet of Healthy Things ... or smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected ... health care delivery, moving care from the hospital or ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... InSphero AG, the leading supplier of easy-to-use solutions ... Melanie Aregger to serve as Chief Operating Officer. , Having joined InSphero ... team and was promoted to Head of InSphero Diagnostics in 2014. There ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... QC , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - ProMetic ... "Corporation") announced today that Mr. Pierre Laurin , President ... corporate presentation at the upcoming Piper Jaffray 27 th ... Palace Hotel, on December 1-2, 2015. st ... available for one-on-one meetings throughout the day. The presentation will ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 HemoShear Therapeutics, LLC, ... drugs for metabolic disorders, announced today the appointment ... Board of Directors (BOD). Mr. Watkins is the ... Genome Sciences (HGS), and also served as the ... Jim Powers , Chairman and CEO of HemoShear ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... NEW YORK , November 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Bristol-Myers Squibb in a European ... Company in which the companies will work closely together ... other areas of unmet medical need. The collaboration is underpinned ... the latest LSP fund. This is the first investment by ...
Breaking Biology Technology: