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Glial cells are the most abundant cell type in our brains, yet we understand very little about their development and function. An accumulating body of work over the last decade has revealed that glia are critical regulators of nervous system development, function, and health. Based on morphological and molecular criteria, glia in Drosophila melanogaster are very similar to their mammalian counterparts, suggesting that a detailed investigation of fly glia has the potential to add greatly to our understanding of fundamental aspects of glial cell biology. In this article, we provide an overview of the subtypes of glial cells found in Drosophila and discuss our current understanding of their functions, the development of a subset of well-defined glial lineages, and the molecular-genetic tools available for manipulating glial subtypes in vivo.


Tobias Stork, Rebecca Bernardos, Marc R Freeman. Analysis of glial cell development and function in Drosophila. Cold Spring Harbor protocols. 2012 Jan;2012(1):1-17

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PMID: 22194269

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