Genetic and Genomic Dissection of Cardiogenesis in the Drosophila Model
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The linear heart tube of the fruit fly Drosophila has served as a very valuable model for studying the regulation of early heart development. In the past, regulatory genes of Drosophila cardiogenesis have been identified largely through candidate approaches. The vast genetic toolkit available in this organism has made it possible to determine their functions and build regulatory networks of transcription factors and signaling inputs that control heart development. In this review, we summarize the major findings from this study and present current approaches aiming to identify additional players in the specification, morphogenesis, and differentiation of the heart by forward genetic screens. We also discuss various genomic and bioinformatic approaches that are currently being developed to extend the known transcriptional networks more globally which, in combination with the genetic approaches, will provide a comprehensive picture of the regulatory circuits during cardiogenesis.