Faced with news of suicides and brain damage in former professional football players, geneticist Barry Ganetzky bemoaned the lack of model systems for studying the insidious and often delayed consequences linked to head injuries.
Then he remembered an unexplored observation from nearly 40 years ago: a sharp strike to a vial of fruit flies left them temporarily stunned, only to recover a short time later. At the time he had marked it only as a curiosity.
Now a professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Ganetzky is turning his accidental discovery into a way to study traumatic brain injury (TBI). He and David Wassarman, a UW professor of cell and regenerative biology, report this week (Oct. 14) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the first glimpses of the genetic underpinnings of susceptibility to brain injuries and links to human TBI.
Read the full story at EurekAlert!