A resource that could change the very nature of genetic research on fruitflies is published in Nature. Barry Dickson and colleagues present a library of transgenic flies in which genes can be inactivated by RNA interference (RNAi), and which covers 88% of the protein-coding genes in the fruitfly genome. This opens up the possibility of analysing gene functions in any tissue and at any stage of the Drosophila lifespan.
Systematic approaches to RNAi are common for investigating key functions of genes during embryonic development. But many genes are vital both in early development and later in the lifespan, and previous approaches knock out the gene in embryogenesis and leave the model devoid in later life. Fruitflies represent an ideal model in which gene function can be disrupted at any time - allowing researchers the option of analysing the function further down the developmental line.
Barry Dickson (Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria)
(C) Nature press release.
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