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
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.