Fruit Fly Genetics Reveal Pesticide Resistance and Insight Into Cancer

Article ID: 635353

Released: 5-Jun-2015 3:05 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: Michigan Technological University

  • Credit: Thomas Werner, Michigan Tech

    Thomas Werner shows a bottle of fruit flies to a group of his students at Michigan Tech.

  • Credit: Thomas Werner, Michigan Tech

    The same genes that give fruit flies black spots can cause cancer in humans.

Newswise — For being so small, fruit flies have had a large impact on genetic research. Thomas Werner, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, has bridged the miniscule and the massive in an effort to better understand the mechanisms behind several unique features of fruit fly genes. Over the past week, several studies that Werner co-authored have been published in PLoS ONE, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Nature Education. All are linked by Drosophila—a genus of fruit flies—and the insights that fruit fly genetics provide on human health, specifically cancer-causing genes.

Some of these genes also shed light on the evolution of pesticide resistance. Three Asian fruit fly strains have developed a tolerance for the world's deadliest mushroom toxin and the driving force behind that evolution was unexpected.

To learn more about Werner's research, check out the full story at:



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