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Using FlyAtlas to identify better Drosophila melanogaster models of human disease

Abstract

FlyAtlas, a new online resource, provides the most comprehensive view yet of expression in multiple tissues of Drosophila melanogaster. Meta-analysis of the data shows that a significant fraction of the genome is expressed with great tissue specificity in the adult, demonstrating the need for the functional genomic community to embrace a wide range of functional phenotypes. Well-known developmental genes are often reused in surprising tissues in the adult, suggesting new functions. The homologs of many human genetic disease loci show selective expression in the Drosophila tissues analogous to the affected human tissues, providing a useful filter for potential candidate genes. Additionally, the contributions of each tissue to the whole-fly array signal can be calculated, demonstrating the limitations of whole-organism approaches to functional genomics and allowing modeling of a simple tissue fractionation procedure that should improve detection of weak or tissue-specific signals.

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Figure 1: Drosophila tissues typically express around half the computed transcriptome.
Figure 2: Evidence for novel transcription units in the Drosophila genome.
Figure 3: Calculating the equation of the fly.

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Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). We are most grateful to S. Terhzaz, P. Cabrero and L. Aitchison for their guidance in dissections and S.-A. Davies and S. Goodwin for their critical reading of the manuscript.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Table 1

Genes that are expressed in a single tissue in adult Drosophila. (PDF 41 kb)

Supplementary Table 2

Genes that show invariant expression between tissues. (PDF 32 kb)

Supplementary Table 3

Array probe sets against unannotated regions of the genome that show significant expression. (PDF 101 kb)

Supplementary Methods (PDF 86 kb)

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Chintapalli, V., Wang, J. & Dow, J. Using FlyAtlas to identify better Drosophila melanogaster models of human disease. Nat Genet 39, 715–720 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/ng2049

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