Retinal Degeneration in the Fly

  • Nansi Jo ColleyEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 723)


In the 1980s, Drosophila took on a surprising role as an animal model for retinal disease, when the genetic similarities and fundamental processes between flies and humans became apparent. Despite its perceived simplicity, the fruit fly is, indeed, a remarkably complex creature with a genetic makeup that is surprisingly similar to our own. Investigators continue to capitalize on a whole host of versatile genetic techniques together with the accessibility of the fly to dissect fundamental photoreceptor cell mechanisms in vivo. The brief life span of the fly, only 2 months, allows for monitoring the onset and progression of retinal degeneration in a short time. These advantageous features place Drosophila among the important animal models used for unraveling the basis of and therapeutic treatments for retinal degenerative disorders.


Drosophila melanogaster Compound eye Rhodopsin Invertebrate phototransduction Retinitis pigmentosa Age-related macular degeneration Photoreceptor Protein trafficking Secretory pathway 



Our research, on retinal degeneration in Drosophila, is supported by funding from the National Eye Institute (R01 EY08768), the Retina Research Foundation, and the Retina Research Foundation/Walter H. Helmerich Research Chair. I gratefully acknowledge C. Vang, E. Rosenbaum, and B. Larson for assistance with preparing the manuscript and figures.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Department of Genetics, and UW-Eye Research InstituteUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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