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Drosophila Melanogaster Models of Motor Neuron Disease, Hardback Book

Drosophila Melanogaster Models of Motor Neuron Disease Hardback

Edited by Ruben Cauchi

Description

Motor neuron diseases are the most catastrophic of neurodegenerative disorders.

The cognitive function is spared, but the motor neuron degeneration translates into progressive muscle weakness and paralysis that propel the afflicted patient to eventual death.

Neurodegenerative disorders constitute one of the major challenges of modern medicine in view of the current lack of effective therapies.

The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has a distinguished history as an important model organism capable of shaping our fundamental understanding of life.

Remarkably, the vast majority of all known human disease genes have a similar fly counterpart and at the molecular and physiological level, the basic principles of neuromuscular function are amazingly conserved between humans and Drosophila.

Combine this with the presence of numerous genetic tools developed over the last century allowing genes and the proteins they encode to be manipulated swiftly to decipher their in vivo function and you have a superb genetic animal model organism of disease.

This publication singles out the past and recent accomplishments of Drosophila in modelling motor neuron disease including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), hereditary spastic paraplegias, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (Kennedy's disease) and spinal muscular atrophy.

The emphasis is on recent developments including the emerging molecular pathways underpinning these disorders.

Genetic screens aimed at identifying novel genes that cause motor neuron degeneration or finding modifiers of the phenotype resulting from the disruption of disease-causative genes are also tackled.

Importantly, this collection provides an inspiring look at the indispensability of the fruit fly, and of model organisms in general, to neuroscience research.

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