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Drosophila melanogaster research: history, breakthrough and perspectives

Abstract

The common fruit fly, or Drosophila Melanogaster, has been used as an object of biomedicals studies for over a century. It has been mostly employed in genetic research, as it exhibits several advantages which make its use relatively easy and cheap, with the results widely translatable into further vertebrate studies. This model been the basis of the work of Christiane Nusslein-Volhard, who together with Eric Wieschaus unravelled much of the mystery surrounding early drosophila development in the 1970s-1980s, laying foundations for broader understanding of multicellular organism embryogenesis, which brought them a Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1995. The knowledge gained from drosophila studies improves the basic understanding of developmental processes, while the model itself is relatively easy to maintain, analyse and translate the results onto other species. While models such as Zebrafish present better with other vertebrates, drosophila remains a very important element of genetic research, finding even more applications with the development of current science and medicine. Hence, in this short review, the outline of the history, breakthroughs and perspectives of the drosophila research has been presented.

Open access
Cardiovascular Risk Factors In 7–13 Years Old Children From Vojvodina (Serbia)

Summary

Background: Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease which starts early in life and depends on many factors, an important one being dyslipoproteinemia. According to several studies, atherosclerotic plaques or their precursors could be seen in children younger than 10 years. During later life, interaction with a sedentary way of life, as well as unhealthy nutrition, smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity and family history of cardiovascular disease cause the burden of atherosclerotic disease.

Methods: Study included 624 children (316 boys, 308 girls), aged from 7-13 years. We analysed socio-demographic data (BMI, blood pressure, cardiovascular family history, smoking status), as well as lipid status with lipoprotein little a-Lp(a), and apolipoproteins: Apo AI, Apo B-100 for all children. This enabled us to calculate new atherogenic indices Tg/HDL-c, lipid tetrad index (LTI) and lipid pentad index (LPI). Cardiovascular risk for later life was estimated by using modified Risk Score for Young Individuals (RS), which divided the subjects according to the score level: low, medium and higher risk.

Results: The older children (13 y) had better lipid status than the younger children, i.e. significantly lower total cholesterol, LDL-C, triglycerides and non-HDL-C concentration and significantly higher HDL-C concentration than the younger children and this was in accordance with the RS level. Children with a positive family history of CV disease had significantly higher Lp(a) concentration and blood pressure. LPI was significantly higher in children with a higher RS.

Conclusions: The results of our work could be used for cardiovascular risk assessment in apparently healthy children to provide preventive measures which could control the change able risk factors.

Open access
Historical background of umbilical stem cell culture

Abstract

Umbilical cord is a waste material, and therefore does not raise ethical concerns related to its use for research and medicine. Stem cells from umbilical cord have a significant advantage over cells from other sources. First, the umbilical cord is an infinite source of stem cells, because it can be taken theoretically during each delivery. Secondly, acquisition of umbilical cord is a non-invasive, safe procedure for mother and child. Thirdly, the transplantation of umbilical cord stem cells is associated with a lower risk of infection and a less-frequent “graft versus host” reaction. In this work, the authors present a historical background of research on the cell from its discovery to modern times characterized by highly advanced methods of obtaining stem cells from umbilical cord and from other sources.

Open access
Curious Cases of the Enzymes / Neobiča Istorija Enzima

Summary

Life as we know it heavily relies on biological catalysis, in fact, in a very nonromantic version of it, life could be considered as a series of chemical reactions, regulated by the guarding principles of thermodynamics. In ancient times, a beating heart was a good sign of vitality, however, to me, it is actually the presence of active enzymes that counts… Though we do not usually pay attention, the history of enzymology is as old as humanity itself, and dates back to the ancient times. This paper is dedicated to these early moments of this remarkable science that touched our lives in the past and will make life a lot more efficient for humanity in the future. There was almost always a delicate, fundamentally essential relationship between mankind and the enzymes. Challenged by a very alien and hostile Nature full of predators, prehistoric men soon discovered the medicinal properties of the plants, through trial and error. In fact, they accidently discovered the enzyme inhibitors and thus, in crude terms, kindled a sparkling area of research. These plant-derivatives that acted as enzyme inhibitors helped prehistoric men in their pursuit of survival and protection from predators; in hunting and fishing… Later in history, while the underlying purposes of survival and increasing the quality of life stayed intact, the ways and means of enzymology experienced a massive transformation, as the ‘trial and error’ methodology of the ancients is now replaced with rational scientific theories.

Open access