Consumption of excess alcohol during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), but exactly how alcohol disrupts normal development is unclear. McClure et al. now report that fruit flies reared on ethanol show several characteristics of human FAS, including reduced viability, and abnormal development and behaviour. These changes are caused largely by reduced Drosophila insulin-like peptide and insulin receptor expression. This model can now be used to screen for modifiers of FAS that might help to prevent or treat the syndrome in humans.
- Written by editorial staff. © 2011. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
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