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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2018 Jun;50:24-32. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2017.10.017. Epub 2017 Nov 9.

Genetic strategies to tackle neurological diseases in fruit flies.

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Program in Developmental Biology, Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), Houston, TX 77030, USA.
Program in Developmental Biology, Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), Houston, TX 77030, USA; Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, BCM, Houston TX 77030, USA; Department of Neuroscience, BCM, Houston TX 77030, USA; Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston TX 77030, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, BCM, Houston, TX 77030, USA. Electronic address:


Drosophila melanogaster is a genetic model organism that has contributed to the discovery of numerous genes whose human homologues are associated with diseases. The development of sophisticated genetic tools to manipulate its genome accelerates the discovery of the genetic basis of undiagnosed human diseases and the elucidation of molecular pathogenic events of known and novel diseases. Here, we discuss various approaches used in flies to assess the function of the fly homologues of disease-associated genes. We highlight how systematic and combinatorial approaches based on recently established methods provide us with integrated tool sets that can be applied to the study of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.

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