A BBC report has revealed that the humble fruit fly could help scientists unlock the secrets of Alzheimer’s disease.
A new £20m Dementia Research Institute at Cardiff University includes a fly laboratory.
Researchers will be studying the brains of the flies because they share a large proportion of their genes with humans.
They also have a £1m microscope to hand, which is able to carry out thousands of tests on cells and collect data automatically.
In Wales, there are 45,000 people living with dementia but this is set to increase to 100,000 by 2055.
Cardiff is part of a new £290m network of dementia research centres, which includes Cambridge, Edinburgh and London, looking to find a cure.
The BBC noted that the fruit fly has a part to play because it has many genes which are similar to those in Alzheimer’s disease in humans.
Its brain – roughly the size of a poppy seed – contains about 100,000 neurons; human brains have 100 billion.
But only having a life cycle of a few months, scientists can track how the fly’s brain ages far more quickly.
Read more – BBC.COM