If a fetus is exposed to alcohol in the womb, it can result in a series of problems, such as developmental problems or even fetal death. However, fruit flies (Drosophila Melanogaster) are affected in a similar manner because they frequently eat rotting fruit, which produces alcohol. Tatiana V. Morozova and her research team examined the reason behind prenatal sensitivity to alcohol in fruit flies. They created a population of 200 wild-type inbred fruit flies that had fully sequenced genomes. The flies were exposed to alcohol and their developmental time and mortality rates were recorded.
Morozova et al also examined how ethanol exposure affected the movement of the flies. They found that when the fruit flies were exposed to ethanol, their development time increased, their movement was impaired, and that more flies died. However, there was some genetic variation and variation in the results from the different lines of fruit flies. The genomes of the lines were compared to examine the genetic differences between the sensitivity of each line. It was revealed that the Cyclin E gene, which regulates the cell cycle and is present in the ovaries of fruit flies, was linked to developmental alcohol sensitivity.
I thought that this article was an interesting read because the study could provide insight into the causes of alcohol and drug sensitivity during human development. The study could also help us look into the genetic causes of these sensitivities and might lead to the development of safer medications to use during pregnancy or effective treatments for infants who were exposed to alcohol or certain drugs during development. There might not be an identical gene that affects alcohol sensitivity during development, but this study suggests that there might be a different gene that affects developmental sensitivity in humans.
A Cyclin E Centered Genetic Network Contributes to Alcohol-Induced Variation in Drosophila Development
Tatiana V. Morozova, Yasmeen Hussain, Lenovia J. McCoy, Eugenea V. Zhirnov, Morgan R. Davis, Victoria A. Pray, Rachel A. Lyman, Laura H. Duncan, Anna McMillen, Aiden Jones, Trudy F. C. Mackay, R. H. Anholt
G3: GENES|GENOMES|GENETICS August 2018 8: 2643-2653;