A molecular motor appears to help form the left-right asymmetry axis in Drosophila, according to a pair of studies [ref 1, ref 2] published this week in Nature. Both papers show that mutation of a gene encoding the unconventional class I myosin, Myo31DF, results in situs inversus of the gut, testis, and spermiduct -- the first such mutant to be found in flies, and the first in any organism to involve myosin motors. These findings likely provide important clues to the workings of the machinery that establishes symmetry in the developing embryo, a little-known aspect of invertebrate biology, Stéphane Noselli, of the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, lead author of the one of the studies and co-author of the other, told The Scientist. Situs inversus is a reversal of an organism?s normal left-right asymmetry, placing the human heart on the right side of the...

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