Effect of Lead Exposure on Drosophila melanogaster and expression of the Neru gene
Lead is a common environmental toxin that has been shown to have various negative effects on human health including developmental delays, seizures, and high blood pressure. In this study, we wanted to test the effect of lead exposure on neural development and mobility in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. More specifically, we looked at the expression of the Neuralized gene, which is involved in the process of neural development, and at larval crawling. We hypothesized that exposing Drosophila larvae to lead salt would decrease both expressions of the Neur gene and larval mobility. To test our hypothesis, the experimental group of Drosophila larvae was exposed to 25ug/L of lead in their feeding media for four days while the control group was exposed to normal feeding media. Following the four-day exposure, larvae from both the control and experimental groups underwent a larval crawling assay followed by RNA extraction and quantitative PCR to measure the expression of the Neur gene. Because previous studies showed that lead salt affects mobility, we predicted that the lead-exposed larvae would show deficits in the larvae crawling assay and that their expression of the Neur gene would be less compared to control cultures.