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Fruit fly models of schizophrenia, a philosophical account

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posted on 2022-03-29, 00:48 authored by Megan Ivory
Drosophila melanogaster – the common fruit fly - has been a model organism in science for over one hundred years. Thanks to a shared ancestor hundreds of million years ago, a surprisingly large number of features are common between fruit flies and humans. This conservation of features allows researchers to model how mechanistic breakdown or malfunction can lead to diseases in humans. There has been great success in research in Parkinson’s disease using the Drosophila to model the relevant features of the disease. This past success has led to a call for other diseases, such as schizophrenia, to be modelled in Drosophila. How these models succeed, why mechanistic explanations are preferred in neuroscience will be explored to give an account of when we can expect success from such an enterprise. By modelling the mechanisms that cause disease, in model organisms, scientists can explore how these neuroanatomical and neurochemical features lead to specific changes that can explain symptoms of human sufferers. Drosophila are a vessel for studying the in vivo action of mechanisms of interest. The knowledge of the molecular action of the mechanism is refined by testing the action of the mechanism in other model organisms. Drosophila are the ideal starting point to explore mechanistic causes of disease in vivo.


Table of Contents

Chapter One. Background information -- Chapter Two. Mechanisms, Parkinson’s disease, and drosophila -- Chapter Three. Schizophrenia and the search for mechanistic explanations -- Chapter Four. Conclusion.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 75-83

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy

Department, Centre or School

Department of Philosophy

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Colin Klein


Copyright Megan Ivory 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




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