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Fruit fly eyes helpful in understanding human blindness

Scientists have long understood that blue light will make fruit flies go blind but had been unable to determine why.

A recent Purdue University study revealed how blue light kills cells in the eyes of the fruit fly and opens up the possibility of further understanding human eye diseases such as macular degeneration. Researchers compared older fruit flies that were susceptible to vision loss when exposed to blue light to young fruit flies that are not affected by blue light exposure. What the research team found was that the older fruit flies' eyes were harmed by lipid peroxidation while young fruit flies did not experience lipid peroxidation. The research team was able to stop the lipid peroxidation by over-expressing the Cytochrome b5 protein. This revelation led scientists to believe that the death of the cells in the eyes of the fruit flies from the blue light exposure was due to lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation also plays a part in the development of retinal disease in humans including macular degeneration.    

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