And finally, our gene of the month is one for all your romantics out there - it’s Lonely Heart. Only discovered this year, Lonely Heart is a fruit fly gene that’s involved, as you might have guessed, in building their tiny hearts. Loss of the gene leads to heart damage and eventually, in the words of the scientific paper describing it, “abolishment of heart function”.
Lonely Heart carries the instructions to make a protein that helps to make a kind of molecular glue that holds together the muscle of the fly’s heart and the sheath that surrounds it. When this glue breaks down, the heartbeat becomes irregular and everything starts to go wrong. There are other proteins related to Lonely Heart out there, but it’s not clear exactly what they do. Perhaps they’re also involved in creating molecular glue too?