Analyzing the Function of Tumor Suppressor Genes Using a Drosophila Model

  • Raymond A. Pagliarini
  • Ana T. Quiñones
  • Tian Xu
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology™ book series (MIMB, volume 223)


With 1600 eyes, a pair of antennae, 6 legs, and an open circulatory system, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster may seem an unlikely model for the host of pathologies resulting from human cancers. However, the results of a century of research in Drosophila only accents the fundamental similarities between many biologic processes in both flies and humans. And as genetic analysis in yeast lent crucial insights into the conserved mechanisms of cell division and cell cycle control (1,2), genetic studies in a relatively simple multicellular organism such as Drosophila can help us understand how mutations in tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes affect organs and tissues, and also help us to find new genes functioning in the processes related to cancer biology. The goal of this chapter is to review how one can use Drosophila as a model to study the functions of tumor suppressor or oncogene homologs, and to identify novel genes involved in tumorigenic processes. We discuss why Drosophila is a relevant model for cancer development in mammals, and why studies in Drosophila offer advantages over a number of other model systems. We review the history of studying cancer in Drosophila, and explain the powerful genetic techniques that allow for refined in-vivo studies of cancer-causing genes.


Imaginal Disc Mutant Clone Enhancer Trap Upstream Activate Sequence Nevoid Basal Cell Carcinoma Syndrome 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raymond A. Pagliarini
    • 1
  • Ana T. Quiñones
    • 2
  • Tian Xu
    • 1
  1. 1.Boyer Center for Molecular MedicineYale University School of MedicineNew Haven
  2. 2.Yale University School of MedicineNew Haven

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