Drosophila as a tool for studying the conserved genetics of pain


  • The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author: Dr. G. Gregory Neely, Pain Research Group, Neuroscience Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, 384 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales 2010, Australia.

Tel.: +61 2 9295 8297

fax: +61 2 9295 8281

e-mail: g.neely@garvan.org.au


Survival of all animals depends on an accurate representation of the world, and an organism must be capable of prioritizing and responding to potentially hazardous conditions. This ability is dependent on nociception, the sensory process allowing animals to detect and avoid potentially harmful stimuli. Nociception is the sensory process that results in the subjective experience of ‘pain’ in humans. Because of its vital and broad role in animal biology, pain/nociception is a complex, whole-body physiological process that is under stringent evolutionary pressure. Here, we discuss the utility of Drosophila melanogaster as an emerging model organism for studying the conserved genetics of nociception, particularly with respect to recently developed high-throughput Drosophila ‘pain’ paradigms.