Alternatives to mammalian pain models 2: using Drosophila to identify novel genes involved in nociception.
Identification of the molecules involved in nociception is fundamental to our understanding of pain. Drosophila, with its short generation time, powerful genetics and capacity for rapid, genome-wide mutagenesis, represents an ideal invertebrate model organism to dissect nociception. The fly has already been used to identify factors that are involved in other sensory systems such as vision, chemosensation, and audition. Thus, the tiny fruit fly is a viable alternative to mammalian model organisms. Here we present a brief primer on techniques used in screening for thermal and/or mechanical nociception mutants using Drosophila.