Fruit flies may provide a biomarker for early-onset Parkinson's

After studying the visual responses of fruit flies with different types of Parkinson's disease, biologists at the University of York believe they may be on to a new biomarker that could be used to detect the early-onset form of the disease. Increased visual activity in young fruit flies with early-onset Parkinson's mutations is a significant finding, as it may provide an early-onset biomarker for people at risk of Parkinson's. "Using 64 different combinations of visual stimuli, we now have a comprehensive bank of the reactions of fruit flies carrying different genetic mutations," says Ryan West. "We can see that fruit flies carrying different mutations have distinct patterns of visual responses, suggesting this is a reliable method in classifying Parkinson's genotypes." Release