Thursday, July 5, 2012

On Orthologs, GWAS and Fly Models of Disease

A nice mention of the DRSC Integrative Ortholog Prediction Tool (DIOPT) (Hu et al. in BMC Bioinformatics) appeared recently in a Current Biology dispatch highlighting a Drosophila study investigating genes related to Restless Leg Syndrome.

Shaw & Duntley "Neurological Disorders: Towards a Mechanistic Understanding of Restless Leg Syndrome" Current Biology 22(12).

The study highlighted in the dispatch (Freeman et al. "Sleep fragmentation and motor restlessness in a Drosophila model of restless leg syndromeCurrent Biology 22:1142-1148") takes human genome-wide association study (GWAS) data into a model system for functional characterization.

Shaw & Duntley state that "one of the most compelling aspects of the approach of Freeman et al. is the successful use of a model system to functionally characterize a susceptibility gene that was original identified in human genome-wide association studies" and that "the use of model systems to functionally characterize genes identified with genome-wide association studies is a move in the right direction."

At the DRSC, we are excited to see that our bioinformatics tools, as well as our RNAi reagents for cells and in vivo, can have a positive impact on the use of Drosophila to study human disease-related genes and develop disease models.

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