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Similarities between brains of fruit flies and humans could help research

Similarities between brains of fruit flies and humans could help research
18th April 2013

A joint study from scientist at King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry and the University of Arizona (UA) has found that the brains of fruit flies are similar to humans.

The study received some funding from Alzheimer's Research UK, which hopes the find could help towards a breakthrough for cognitive conditions such as dementia.

Researchers believe that both brain structures have evolved from embryonic stem cells.

Dr Strausfeld, a regents professor in the UA's Department of Neuroscience and the director of the Center for Insect Science, said: "When you compare the two structures, you find that they are very similar in terms of how they're organised.

"Their development is orchestrated by a whole suite of genes that are homologous between flies and mice, and the behavioural deficits resulting from disturbances in the two systems are remarkably similar as well."

Dr Frank Hirth from King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, added that studying the brains of insects could lead to a better understanding of how brain disorders in humans develop.