The Drosophila CNS is an excellent model to study fundamental aspects of neurogenesis. It pioneered discovery of numerous tumour suppressors, asymmetric neural stem cell (NSC) division, cancer resulting from its disruption, and of sequential transcriptional series that pattern NSCs temporally. Drosophila has ~14,000 protein-coding genes but only ~150 microRNAs (miRs) to regulate them. Surveying miR overexpression phenotypes can thus short-cut genome exploration, the challenge being determination of relevant targets responsible for a phenotype. Putative miR targets can be identified using bioinformatics and then validated by qRT-PCR and functional assays. We are using this approach to understand various interesting neural phenotypes.
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