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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2007 Feb;18(1):3-15. Epub 2006 Dec 5.

Heart development in Drosophila.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The Drosophila heart, also called the dorsal vessel, is an organ for hemolymph circulation that resembles the vertebrate heart at its transient linear tube stage. Dorsal vessel morphogenesis shares several similarities with early events of vertebrate heart development and has proven to be an insightful system for the study of cardiogenesis due to its relatively simple structure and the productive use of Drosophila genetic approaches. In this review, we summarize published findings on Drosophila heart development in terms of the regulators and genetic pathways required for cardiac cell specification and differentiation, and organ formation and function. Emerging genome-based strategies should further facilitate the use of Drosophila as an advantageous system in which to identify previously unknown genes and regulatory networks essential for normal cardiac development and function.

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