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Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2011;100:331-68. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-384878-9.00008-X.

800 facets of retinal degeneration.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology, Division of Developmental Biology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.


In today's world of genomics and large computational analyses, rapid progress has been made in identifying genes associated with human retinal diseases. Nevertheless, before significant advances toward effective therapeutic intervention is made, a clearer understanding of the molecular and cellular role of these gene products in normal and diseased photoreceptor cell biology is required. Given the complexity of the vertebrate retina, these advancements are unlikely to be revealed in isolated human cell lines, but instead, will require the use of numerous model systems. Here, we describe several parallels between vertebrate and invertebrate photoreceptor cell biology that are beginning to emerge and advocate the use of Drosophila melanogaster as a powerful genetic model system for uncovering molecular mechanisms of human retinal pathologies, in particular photoreceptor neurodegeneration.

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