Sleep and Circadian Rhythms in Fragile X Mutant Drosophila

Ravi Allada, MD, at Northwestern University, FRAXA research grant

With an $80,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation over 2 years, Dr. Ravi Allada and his team studied at Northwestern University sleep behaviors in Fragile X fruit flies. These fruit flies are useful for several important reasons; not only do they have a good cognitive phenotype, they also have a clear disturbance of circadian rhythms. This is an important model for human hyperactivity and sleep disorders, and this group studied the underlying mechanisms in an effort to find treatments for the human conditions.

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Fragile X Syndrome and RNAi

With a $75,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 2003-2004, Dr. Richard Carthew and his team at Northwestern University studied their interest in gene expression by investigating the role of the recently discovered process of interfering RNA (RNAi). FMRP appears to be involved in the metabolism of RNAi, and may have a role in regulating the process; likewise, deficits in RNAi may contribute to the disease process in Fragile X.

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