Monday, December 15, 2008

Hoverfly RNAi

What I'm reading today:

Lemke & Schmidt (2009) Evidence for a composite anterior determinant in the hover fly Episyrphus balteatus (Syrphidae), a cyclorrhaphan fly with an anterodorsal serosa anlage. Development 136, 117-127. [PubMed 19060334]

Why I'm reading it:

I am nothing like an expert in the natural history of flies.  

But I do know this about hoverflies (syrphid flies), they're a popular macro photo pic on Flickr.  They frequent flowers and like bees, do some work as pollinators.

The cover photo on the January 2009 issue of Development shows a hoverfly.  

And the corresponding article includes some RNAi work. In a study of genes that support anterior-posterior patterning (including bicoid and caudal) in a hoverfly, the authors use injection of dsRNA (for RNAi-based knockdown) and mRNA (for ectopic expression) to explore gene function.

It's fun to see RNAi being used successfully in this kind of evolutionary study on a fly that lacks the history of genetics that D. melanogaster has behind it.  

Helps remind me that even though I rarely think about RNAi without high-throughput screens in mind, there are many other ways it's having an impact--on our understanding of Drosophila's many fly cousins and of biology more generally.

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