Modeling human neurodegenerative diseases in Drosophila: on a wing and a prayer

Trends Genet. 2000 Apr;16(4):161-7. doi: 10.1016/s0168-9525(99)01939-3.


The ability of Drosophila genetics to reveal new insights into human neurodegenerative disease is highlighted not only by mutants in flies that show neuronal cell loss, but also by targeted expression of human disease genes in the fly. Moreover, study of Drosophila homologs of various human disease genes provides new insight into fundamental aspects of protein function. These recent findings confirm the remarkable homology of gene function in flies when compared with humans. With the advent of complete genomic sequencing on the horizon, Drosophila will continue to be an outstanding model system in which to unravel the complexities, causes and treatments for human neural degeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Mutagenesis
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics*