Drosophila GI tract as a model for gastro-intestinal
Sanmitha S Jujare
M S Ramaiah Institute of Technology
Rajashekhar K Patil
Department of Applied Zoology, Mangalore University
The gastrointestinal tract is one of the largest organ systems within human and other animals.
It plays a major role in digesting, absorbing nutrients, movement of bolus through the
gastrointestinal (GI) tract via peristalsis. In addition, the inner lining of the digestive tract
serves as the first line of defence against a wide range of pathogens.
At present, some of the major GI disorders like constipation and other motility related problems
are on rise. They are mainly due to intake of certain type of food or food groups (Lena Bohn,
et al., 2013). GI tract disorders also include increased acidity, gastro-oesophageal reflux,
heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome. To understand the physiological and molecular causes
of all these abnormalities, it is necessary to have good animal models. In the current study, I
investigated GI tracts of genetically amenable animal model Drosophila melanogaster to
explore its possible use in analysing different GI tract abnormalities.
Drosophila melanogaster has different advantages as a model organism. Approximately 60%
of a group of identified genes in a diverse set of human diseases have an analogous in
Drosophila. They are small and easy to handle. It could be easily anesthetized and manipulated
individually with unsophisticated equipment. They are sexually dimorphic, making it quite
easy to differentiate the sexes. Flies have a short generation time and do well at room
temperature. The care and culture of fruit flies is cheaper. The whole life cycle from egg to
adults in Drosophila takes only 10–11 days (Fig. 1).