Mutants dissecting development and behaviour in Drosophila

Joshi, Adita ; Chandrashekaran, Shanti ; Sharma, R. P. (2005) Mutants dissecting development and behaviour in Drosophila Current Science, 89 (2). pp. 341-352. ISSN 0011-3891

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We have traced in this paper the progress in Drosophila genetics research from the 1960s, at the IARI, spearheaded by the visionary insight of M. S. Swaminathan. The work started with the study of indirect effect of radiation and the synergistic interaction of physical and chemical mutagens on chromosomal and genetic changes. This paved the way for the study of single gene mutants in dissecting developmental and behavioural processes. New genes discovered by us have been shown to encode conserved cell signalling molecules controlling developmental and behavioural pathways. With the complete sequencing of the Drosophila genome, in the year 2000, mounting evidence for the homology between Drosophila and human genes controlling genetic disorders became available. This has led to the fly becoming an indispensable tool for studying human diseases as well as a model to test for drugs and pharmaceuticals against human diseases and complex behavioural processes. For example wingless in Drosophila belongs to the conserved Wnt gene family and aberrant WNT signalling is linked to a range of human diseases, most notably cancer. Inhibition as well as activation of WNT signalling form the basis of an effective therapy for some cancers as well as several other clinical conditions. Recent experiments have shown that WNTs might also normally participate in self-renewal, proliferation or differentiation of stem cells and altering WNT signalling might be beneficial to the use of stem cells for therapeutic means. Likewise, the stambhA mutant of Drosophila which was discovered for its temperature-dependent paralytic behaviour is the fly homologue of Phospholipase Cβ . Phospholipase C mediated G protein signalling plays a central role in vital processes controlling epilepsy, vision, taste, and olfaction in animals. Proteins of the G-signalling pathway are of intense research interest since many human diseases involve defects in G-protein signalling pathways. In fact, approximately 50% of the drugs used in clinical medicine target cellular pathways containing G-protein signalling elements. The detailed study of PLC-dependent G protein signalling in Drosophila is bound to throw light on the role of G protein-mediated biological functions and on similar genes and their functions in human diseases.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Current Science Association.
Keywords:Mutants; Drosophila; Genetics; Mutagens; Development Studies
ID Code:74074
Deposited On:08 Dec 2011 12:18
Last Modified:18 May 2016 18:37

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