Sunday, March 19, 2017

Drosophila effectively models human genes responsible for genetic kidney diseases

Image result for drosophila

Genes associated with Nephrotic Syndrome (NS) in humans also plays a role in the Drosophila renal function, thus making Drosophila a ideal model to understand human disease. NS signals kidney damage symptoms include excess protein in urine, elevated cholesterol, swelling, and low protein in the blood. Researchers have found more than 40 different genes that can cause this specific genetic kidney disease, but gaps still remain in understanding the roles these genes play. Zhe Han a associate professor in the Center for Cancer and Immunology Research at Childrens National has begun studying the NS associated genes in Drosophila. Eighty-five percent of the genes required for kidney function in humans play a big role in flies. They can now be used to identify treatments for kidney disease and learn the function these genes play in the body. There is a need for more model organisms to study renal function. The renal system not only filters and eliminates waste but also indicates immune damage.  Using Drosophila as a model organism is quick, inexpensive , and relevant for this system of study.

1 comment:

  1. This article is great because it directly relates to our genetics laboratory report. We learned the various ways Drosophila are model organisms in the lab, and this article supports those examples. In lab we observed various traits such as eye color and wing shape, but this article talks about a human disease (Nephrotic Syndrome) that can be compared in the Drosophila. It is shocking to learn that more than 85% of the genes required for kidney function in humans is similar to Drosophila. It truly is a model organism.