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Table 1 Advantages and disadvantages of using Drosophila as a model organism for neurodegenerative diseases like AD

From: Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism for Alzheimer’s disease



No ethical problems/no restrictions according to animal protection laws

Brain anatomy, cardiovascular system and respiration systems differs substantially from humans

Easy and cheap to maintain in large quantities, time and cost effective handling

No easy measure of complex behavior

Genetic manipulation is fast and inexpensive (3 month, < $ 500 per transgene)

Only basic measures of cognitive decline

Plethora of available resources/stocks (e.g. genome-wide RNAi-library)

Sometimes poor conservation of proteins/protein function

Short generation time (~10 days), short life span (2–3 month)

- > easy to use for screens

Maintenance as living cultures only, no permanent conservation (e.g. frozen stocks) possible

Fully sequenced and annotated genome

Less complex and adaptive immune system as in vertebrates

Good conservation of basic signaling pathways and cellular processes in general

Effects of drugs on the organism might differ strongly (e.g. conversion of pro-toxins to toxins in liver)

Low redundancy/reduced number of paralogous genes compared to vertebrates


Probably best analyzed/understood multi- cellular organism


More complex organism compare to C. elegans and yeast


Balancer chromosomes allow the maintenance of mutations/trangenes without genotyping