Collaborators: Cochrane G, Di Francesco V, Donohue T, Durinx C, Game A, Green E, Gojobori T, Goodhand P, Hamosh A, Hermjakob H, Kanehisa M, Kiley R, McEntyre J, McKibbin R, Miyano S, Pauly B, Perrimon N, Ragan MA, Richards G, Teo YY, Westerfield M, Westhof E, Lasko PF.
One of the great revelations of post-genomic biology has been the extent to which essential functions and mechanisms are conserved across vast phylogenetic distances. Because of this, we can look to the fruit fly for answers to pressing open questions on the unknown functions of genes and the mechanisms of their physiological integration.
Drosophila melanogaster has been adopted as one of the most-used model systems since it was first introduced by Thomas Morgan for the study of heredity in the early 20th century. Its experimental tractability and similarity of its biological pathways to those of humans have placed the model at the forefront of research into human development and disease. With the ongoing accumulation of genetic tools and assays, the fly community has at its fingertips the resources to generate diverse Drosophila disease models for the study of genes and pathways involved in a wide range of disorders. In recent years, the fly has also been used successfully for drug screening. In this Editorial, we introduce a Special Collection of reviews, interviews and original research articles that highlight some of the many ways that Drosophila has made, and continues to make, an impact on basic biological insights and translational science.
This Podcast features a conversation with authors of a Research Resource published in the 25 October 2011 issue of Science Signaling. Although the extracellular signal–regulated kinase (ERK) pathway has been extensively studied, our understanding of all the regulatory interactions that modulate signaling is by no means complete. Adam Friedman and Norbert Perrimon discuss their group’s strategy of combining functional and genomics approaches to identify common and specific regulators of ERK signaling in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The ERK pathway plays an important role in normal developmental and physiological contexts as well as in disease states, such as tumorigenesis.