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Drosophila melanogaster, or the fruit fly, is commonly used in labs because approximately 75% of human disease-causing genes are believed to have a functional homolog in the fly (Pandey 2011). This close genetic makeup as well as minimal expense makes Drosophila an ideal model to investigate potential effects of gut microbiota in human disease. Gut microbes have been known to influence the host of diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease (Musso 2010). In this study, a protocol for generating GR (germ free) D. melanogaster flies was developed and verified. This technique is crucial to investigating the role of commensal microbes in the genesis and progression of disease. We are investigating the effects of microbes in Alzheimer ’s disease using a Drosophila melanogaster strain expressing of human amyloid-β peptide in a temperature dependent manner (Singh 2013). By generating GF flies of this constructed strain we will be able to determine whether commensal microbes play a role in the expression of the amyloid-β peptide. This same technique could be used to study the role of commensal microbes on any human disease homolog in the fly.

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Jayne B. Robinson

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This poster reflects research conducted as part of course project designed to give students experience in the research process.