Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fruit Fly Research Set To Revolutionize Study Of Birth Defects

Date:
November 22, 2005
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
A Queen's University study of fruit flies that may revolutionize the way birth defects are studied has identified the genes affected by a widely-prescribed drug known to cause birth defects. Methotrexate (MTX), a popular cancer-fighting drug also used to treat psoriasis, ectopic pregnancies, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus, lasts a long time in the body and causes birth defects in children from women who have it in their systems. The study of the drug's effect on fruit flies has allowed Queen's researchers including graduate student Joslynn Affleck to identify the genes on which the drug acts.

Dr. Virginia Walker and Joslynn Affleck identified the array of genes affected by a cancer-drug using fruit flies.
Credit: Photo by Stephen Wild

A Queen's University study of fruit flies that may revolutionize the way birth defects are studied has identified the genes affected by a widely prescribed drug known to cause birth defects.

Related Articles


Methotrexate (MTX), a popular cancer-fighting drug also used to treat psoriasis, ectopic pregnancies, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus, lasts a long time in the body and causes birth defects in children from women who have it in their systems. The study of the drug's effect on fruit flies has allowed Queen's researchers including graduate student Joslynn Affleck to identify the genes on which the drug acts.

"We hope that through this model system we can provide insight into mammalian birth defects, which may be expected to increase in frequency in the future, due to the recent elevated use of MTX," says Affleck.

Many of the genes found to be affected by MTX are involved in cell cycle regulation, signal transduction, transport, defense response, transcription, or various aspects of metabolism.

"This study shows that MTX treatment has multiple targets," says Affleck. "And this provides us with a novel invertebrate model for the study of drugs that cause birth defects." The findings are set to be published by Toxicological Sciences in the New Year.

"This is not a journal in the habit of publishing insect studies," notes biologist Dr. Virginia Walker, who co-authored the study. "The neat thing about this work is that fruit flies treated with this drug show 'birth defects' that are hauntingly similar to birth defects in human babies. Babies have bent limbs, tufts of hair and bulging eyes and the fruit flies have bent legs (and wings), tufts of bristles and rough eyes."

While identifying this gene array is significant in its own right, the successful use of fruit flies in this kind of study is a revelation to the researchers who view it as an efficient model for the initial testing of "rescue" therapies to try to prevent birth defects. Scientists can study the effect of the drug on the genes of as many as three generations of fruit flies in a month using readily available scientific tools, speeding up study times while keeping costs low.

"It also adds to the growing list of roles fruit flies can take," says Walker. Fruit flies are already used as models for aging, neural disease and cancer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Fruit Fly Research Set To Revolutionize Study Of Birth Defects." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 November 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051122093217.htm>.
Queen's University. (2005, November 22). Fruit Fly Research Set To Revolutionize Study Of Birth Defects. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051122093217.htm
Queen's University. "Fruit Fly Research Set To Revolutionize Study Of Birth Defects." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051122093217.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins