Ana Marija Jakšić Shapes Fruit Fly Brains
Ana Marija Jakšić investigated the evolutionary differences in drosophila, when exposed to high or low temperatures. The most heavily impacted portion of the drosophila were their brains and the neural genes, expressed in one temperature versus another. The strongest and most consistent response was that of the dopamine-producing neurons, which dampens the expression of several neural signaling based genes. This caused the drosophila to develop higher levels of spontaneous locomotor activity (measured by how fast they scaled the walls of a vial, when startled). Jakšić began to investigate whether different genotypes are better able to “ameliorate” the locomotor changes, by artificially altering the levels of the drosophila’s dopamine. She hopes to apply this data to human conditions where dopamine imbalances cause uncontrollable movements, like Parkinson's disease. This particular article delves into the research done by Jakšić, in a general summary, while also linking her papers. This research could help develop better treatments for Parkinson’s and other similar diseases.