At first glance, the human and Drosophila heart appear to have little in common. However, Choma et al. now provide evidence that flies can be used to model aspects of complex cardiovascular disease. Using an innovative optical imaging technique to visualise Drosophila during the semi-transparent pre-pupal stage of development, they show that numerous baseline physiological measurements of cardiovascular function are remarkably similar in the Drosophila heart and in closed vertebrate cardiovascular systems, including that of humans. They also report a subtle functional heart defect caused by mutation in troponin I, which is associated with heart dysfunction in vertebrates.
- Written by editorial staff. © 2011. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
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