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Hum Mol Genet. 2002 May 15;11(10):1215-8.

Studies of mechanosensation using the fly.

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  • 1The Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JR, UK.


Mechanosensation requires the transduction of mechanical stimuli into neuronal impulses. It encompasses not only the sense of touch but also proprioception and hearing. In contrast to sight, smell and taste, relatively little is known about the molecular machinery of mechanosensation. It is already clear, however, that important aspects are conserved across phyla, from Caenorhabditis elegans to humans. Drosophila melanogaster is well placed to make a significant contribution to this field. Its advantages include a sequenced genome allied with powerful genetic techniques, and the ability to conduct electrophysiological recording from mechanoreceptor neurons. For human geneticists, it is expected that Drosophila studies will provide a source of candidate genes whose human homologues can be examined for roles in mechanosensory development, function and disease.

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