In a discovery that could greatly accelerate the search for genetic causes of heart disease, a multi-disciplinary Duke University research team has found that the common fruit fly can serve as a powerful new model for testing human genes implicated in heart disease.
The finding is important, the Duke team said, because the entire genome of the fruit fly is well understood and catalogued, enabling researchers to systemically screen genes to identify potential gene mutations or variants implicated in human heart disease. The achievement also raises the possible of rapid screening in fruit flies of drugs to treat heart disease, said the researchers.
The teams bioengineers adapted an existing imaging technology to visualize in detail for the first time the beating of the heart of a fruit fly, an insect the size of a grain of rice. The flys heart is about the size of the period at the end of this sentence.
Richard Merritt | EurekAlert!
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