Flying to the heart of the matter

The first gene map of heart function.
This map shows all genes involved in regulating heart function, their interaction and binding partners. Roughly 2 Million fruit flies had to be analyzed.

Source: IMBA 2010

Beating heart of a fruit fly
The video shows the abdomen and part of the wings of a wild type fruit fly with the beating heart visible. 

Source: Courtesy of Karen Ocorr, Ph.D., Sanford-Burnham Institute for Medical Research, California

The first systematic map of heart failure identifies hundreds of genes that regulate heart function

Was it a horror film or a sci-fi spoof? Fans of the 1986 blockbuster “The Fly” have been debating the issue ever since but one point has always been accepted. The underlying idea is plainly too far-fetched to be plausible: man and flies have nothing at all in common and the idea that they could exchange genes is ridiculous. Or is it? The cover story of the scientific journal Cell (April 2, 2010) is a paper in which scientists at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) in Vienna, Austria, report that human hearts and fly hearts are essentially under the control of many of the same genes. Using a model of heart failure in the fly, they present a systematic map of the genes involved in heart disease and heart failure and confirm that one of the control mechanisms they have identified really is associated with heart failure in flies, mice and in man.

>> Full press release (pdf)

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