Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Unusual Fly Mutations Week On the Fringe
18 June 2013

On the Fringe

As any style icon knows, a neat fringe is essential for a chic hairdo. Similarly, the fruit fly’s fringe gene is vital for looking sharp. It’s responsible for forming the edges of a fly’s wings, and is switched on in a tightly-controlled area in the developing wing as a tiny maggot transforms into an adult fly. Pictured is a neat stripe of cells that have switched on fringe, coloured in green, marking where the edge of the wing should go. Humans have three versions of FRINGE, called LUNATIC FRINGE, MANIC FRINGE and RADICAL FRINGE, which help to shape our limbs and other body parts. Inherited faults in LUNATIC FRINGE cause severe problems with the development of the spine, and although the gene’s name may seem funny, it’s not amusing for families affected by the disease, so it’s usually referred to just as LFNG.

Written by Kat Arney

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