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2005 Grant - Botas
Screen for Genetic Modifiers in a Drosophila Model of Alzheimer's Disease
Juan Botas, Ph.D.
Baylor College of Medicine
2005 New Investigator Research Grant
The fruit fly, or Drosophila, is often referred to as the workhorse of genetics research. It is relatively easy to manipulate its genetic makeup and to identify outcomes of those manipulations. Humans and Drosophila also share a number of identical or similar genes.
Juan Botas, Ph.D., and colleagues have genetically altered Drosophila so that it produces two molecules that are critical in Alzheimer's disease processes, the beta-amyloid protein fragment and the tau protein. Using this model, they observed that beta-amyloid induces changes to tau similar to those that occur in Alzheimer's disease and that the flies experience severe degeneration of nerve cells.
In this investigation, the researchers will screen for genes that either suppress the Alzheimer-like events or worsen them. Genes that are identified will be assessed further to determine whether they modify the action of beta-amyloid or tau alone.
The outcome of this work may help investigators identify new genetic risk factors or to characterize genetic and molecular processes that play a contributing role in Alzheimer's disease.