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Current Drosophila News and Events, Drosophila News Articles.
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When it comes to sperm competition, size can matter--it's the female who holds the aces
When it comes to mating and determining whose sperm reaches the elusive egg, females control both the playing field and the rules of the game, according to a new study on male sperm competition vs. female choice to be published in the Nov. 8 issue of Science. (2002-11-07)

Allergic to your DNA?
Scientists have discovered that the presence of undigested DNA left over from dead cells can elicit an immune response in the fruit fly Drosophila, prompting researchers to question whether an analogous autoimmune response could be triggered in humans. (2002-10-14)

Key sensory proteins unveiled in mosquito genome found by Illinois entomologist
While studying tiny pieces of a genomic DNA sequence from the African malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae on Christmas Eve 1999, an entomologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found several possible olfactory receptors similar to those others had found in Drosophila fruit flies. His discovery led to a comprehensive collaborative effort, the results of which will appear Oct. 4 along with the newly completed Anopheles gambiae genome in the journal Science. (2002-10-02)

New insight into fragile X syndrome: Scientists identify possible link to RNAi
New research published in the October 1 issue of Genes & Development reveals that RNA interference (RNAi), a recently discovered and powerful gene silencing mechanism found in plants, animals, and fungi, may also play a role in hereditary human disease. (2002-09-30)

SMU and UNC researchers make an advance in our understanding of gene regulation
Researchers from Southern Methodist University and the University of North Carolina have made an important advance in our understanding of gene regulation. The new insight comes from discovering the biochemical mechanisms by which an important protein works to silence genes. (2002-09-26)

Pesticide resistance warning after gene discovery
Scientists have raised concerns following the discovery of a single gene that gives vinegar flies resistance to a wide range of pesticides, including the banned DDT. (2002-09-26)

UCLA science profs awarded $1 million Howard Hughes Medical Institute grants
Two UCLA professors are among 20 professors nationally to be awarded $1 million grants by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to creatively improve undergraduate science teaching. UCLA is the only university in the country to have more than one professor selected for this honor. (2002-09-19)

Columbia neurobiology fellow wins major career award from 2002 Burroughs Wellcome funding program
Kristin Scott, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist in the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University Health Sciences, has been named a 2002 Burroughs Wellcome Fund career awardee in the biomedical sciences. Dr. Scott will receive a $500,000 grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) to study taste representation in the brains of Drosophila. (2002-07-29)

Insight into how the body tells time
You may feel different at the dreary hour of 4 a.m. than you do mid-afternoon at 4 p.m. Now, researchers might understand why. A study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis helps explain how genes dictate our biological clock. (2002-06-24)

'Sloppy genes' behave like their neighbours
Groundbreaking research in Journal of Biology challenges the traditional view of how genes are controlled. Our current understanding of gene expression, the process by which proteins are made from the instructions encoded in DNA, is that it is tightly controlled so that the correct amount of each protein is produced in the right place at the right time. This new research indicates that some groups of genes that are located next to each other on chromosomes are routinely expressed together. (2002-06-18)

Gene linked to testicular cancer
In a study to be published in the June 6, 2002, issue of the journal Oncogene, researchers at Duke University Medical Center have identified the first gene known to be highly correlated to testicular cancer. (2002-06-05)

Making embryos male
Dr. Blanche Capel and colleagues have determined that a cell-signaling molecule called Desert Hedgehog, or DHH, is required for the differentiation of male-specific Leydig cells in the developing embryo. Fetal Leydig cells are the cells within the testis that produce testosterone during development, and thereby impart secondary male sex characteristics to the embryo, including the internal and external male genitalia. (2002-05-31)

NYU biologists develop better way to 'silence' neurons
Biologists at New York University have discovered a new method of (2002-05-17)

Setting the stage for limb development
Although human limbs appear markedly different from fruit fly antennae, a recent study suggests that homologous genes are responsible for the development of these seemingly divergent structures. Published in G&D, researchers have discovered that Dlx genes, the mammalian counterparts of the fruit fly Distal-less (Dll) gene, are required for normal mammalian limb development. The researchers also show that deficiencies in two of these Dlx genes may underlie a devastating human developmental disorder. (2002-04-30)

Cost of inbreeding in Arabidopsis
A team of geneticists, including two from North Carolina State University, has published a paper in Nature that - by comparing amino acid replacements in mustard weed with those in fruit flies - helps verify, at the molecular level, the evolutionary hypothesis that inbreeding is detrimental. (2002-04-10)

Experiments reveal ancient blood flow map
HHMI researchers studying how developing blood cells migrate to their proper destinations in fruit flies have discovered the ancestral role of VEGF, a protein better known for ensuring that tumors have adequate blood supply. Their studies indicate that VEGF's real purpose was to guide blood cell migration. (2002-03-28)

MGH study identifies key immune system molecule
Researchers from MassGeneral Hospital for Children have identified a molecule that is key to how white blood cells called macrophages recognize the common bacteria E. coli. The study, which may lead to better ways of fighting infections, is being issued on March 24 as an advance online publication of the journal Nature. (2002-03-24)

Human and fly studies tally good and bad mutations, stress ongoing role of natural selection
Chicago researchers show that natural selection plays a much larger role in molecular evolution than suspected, challenging the dominant (2002-02-27)

'Wishful thinking' gene regulates neural development
Two research teams have converged on a novel gene that appears to regulate key aspects of communication between nerve and muscle cells. Knowing the identity and function of these regulatory signals, which have remained largely mysterious until now, will allow researchers to better understand how the nervous system forges important connections during development. (2002-02-14)

Genetica, Inc. develops high throughput RNAi tool for drug target validation
Genetica, Inc has developed a powerful, high throughput tool for target validation in the drug discovery process based on research carried from scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on 1/29/02, demonstrates stable suppression of gene expression in mammalian cells using RNA interference. The research significantly advances the understanding of this post-transcriptional gene silencing pathway and expands its use in elucidating mammalian gene function. (2002-01-28)

Discovery overturns long-held genetic belief
This paper overturns a classic conclusion found in textbooks since the 1930s. Contrary to expectations, the tiny fourth chromosome of the fruit fly, believed to be identical in every member of the species, has regions that vary. Since fruit flies have been at the center of research on genetics and evolution for a century, this surprise finding will trigger reassessment of some of the forces that regulate genetic diversity and influence evolution. (2002-01-03)

Penn team finds 'molecular chaperones' can halt progress of Parkinson's disease in fruit flies and possibly humans
Using fruit fly models of Parkinson's disease, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that a class of proteins known as (2001-12-20)

Protein protects against degeneration of neurons in fruit flies
HHMI researchers have genetically manipulated fruit flies so that the flies produce a human protein that protects against the degeneration of neurons similar to those affected in Parkinson's disease. (2001-12-20)

Assaulting the mosquito's sense of smell
The mosquito may be nature's most effective bioterrorist, accounting for millions of deaths each year. But the end of its eons' long reign of terror may be in sight. Scientists have begun to apply the power of genomics and molecular biology to understand how the mosquito detects the subtle chemical cues that lead it to its targets. (2001-11-26)

Drowsy fruit flies illuminate first molecular pathway, in any species, known to regulate rest and wakefulness
Working with sleep-deprived fruit flies, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have uncovered the first molecular pathway, in any species, implicated in the shift between rest and wakefulness. The work indicates that a Drosophila melanogaster gene known as CREB - evolutionarily conserved in species from flies to humans - plays a role in rest's rejuvenating effects, apparently permitting sustained wakefulness. (2001-11-19)

Receptor-dependent protein activation - without a receptor
Essential for triggering cellular reactions to hormones and neurotransmitters, activation of G-proteins was believed to be exclusively caused by receptors linking the inside of a cell with its surroundings. Now Dr. J├╝rgen Knoblich and his group at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna (Austria), provide strong evidence for G-Protein activation solely by an intracellular protein with no receptor involved - opening up possibilities for the optimisation of many therapeutics. (2001-10-18)

Why and what can flies teach us about cancer?
Matthew Freeman, group leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England is this year's winner of EMBO Gold Medal. This prestigious award is made by EMBO in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of cell signalling particularly in the context of developmental biology. (2001-10-10)

Gene that prevents tumor growth also carries messages from circadian clock
The Nf1 gene is so important to development that when it is missing, the condition neurofibromatosis results...Now Penn researchers have found that it is also necessary for the body's rest-activity cycle. (2001-09-20)

New protein may play role in preventing malignant change in cells
A protein discovered by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine plays a key role in regulating the cell's cycle and preventing it from replicating erratically, which increases its chance of becoming malignant. (2001-08-30)

How brain cells "remember" their birth order
While teasing out the molecular signals that govern neural development in fruit flies, HHMI researchers have discovered how brain cells (2001-08-23)

UCSD biologists identify 548 genes in the fruit fly likely to play a role in human genetic diseases
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have identified genes in the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, that appear to be counterparts of genes responsible for more than 700 different genetic diseases in humans. (2001-06-14)

Understanding tuberous sclerosis
Tuberous sclerosis is caused by mutaions in either TSC gene. As published in G&D, scientists have determined the role of TSC1 and TSC2 in cell growth regulation, providing valuable insight into the mechanism of this disease. (2001-06-01)

Flyman, MD
Funded in part by the Office of Naval Research, Dr. Michael Dickinson (aka Flyman) at UC Berkeley studies the dynamics of insect flight control but in fruit flies and hawkmoths, blowflies and lacewings. (2001-05-09)

Competing fruit flies show evolution in action
An experiment by a University of California, Davis graduate student has captured evolution in action. In the experiment, intense competition increased the rate of evolution in fruit flies. The results provide experimental evidence to support an established theory of how new species arise from old ones. (2001-03-20)

Researchers identify fly genes governing taste, smell
HHMI scientists have identified a large family of fruitfly genes involved in taste and smell. The research could lead to improved understanding of the molecular logic underlying odor and taste perception. (2001-03-08)

Human genome analysis hints at new proteins involved in gene expression
An early search of the draft human genome sequence has revealed promising evidence that the completed genome will yield new proteins involved in gene expression. The HHMI researchers who performed the analysis found previously unknown genes that appear to encode proteins involved in gene expression. (2001-02-11)

Molecular analysis shows complexity behind cargo delivery system of mammalian cells
HHMI researchers compared the human genome to the genomes of other organisms, revealing that the cellular system for transporting proteins is much more complex in humans. The research suggests that the complex physiology of mammals is achieved, in part, through a more finely tuned regulation of the transport system. (2001-02-11)

Where does my heart beat now?
As published in the February 1st issue of Genes & Development, scientists from Harvard Medical School have greatly expanded our knowledge of embryonic heart development. In a series of three articles, research teams led by Drs. Andrew Lassar and Mark Mercola report on their identification of a crucial regulator of vertebrate heart formation. (2001-01-31)

Fruit flies may sniff out roots of cocaine addiction
HHMI researchers have discovered a protein in the nervous system of fruit flies that is a molecular cousin of one of cocaine's major targets in the human brain. Their discovery offers the possibility that researchers can genetically manipulate the protein in fruit flies to learn how cocaine alters behavior and produces addiction. (2001-01-25)

First human circadian rhythm gene identified
HHMI researchers exploring the genetic basis of a rare syndrome that causes people to fall asleep and awaken earlier than normal have pinpointed the first human gene that controls circadian rhythm. The finding links the human circadian system and that of animal models such as Drosophila, mice and hamsters. (2001-01-11)

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