h a l f b a k e r y
Experiencing technical difficulties since 1999
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Fruit flies (Drosophila) are popular with genetic
researchers, partly because they are quick and easy to
They must be a nightmare to work with, though. Only one
little flying pinhead needs to escape from its bottle and
lodge itself in your hair; suddenly, your experiment is
into the wild, where it could easily find a
significant other, reproduce, and head for the nearest bar
to pester the drinkers found therein.
Sitting at such a bar, I saw a beer trap full of dead fruit
flies and wondered what interesting bits of DNA could be in
there that had escaped from the various university and
research buildings in the region. Why not collect the lot
indiscriminately, sequence their (and their passengers')
DNA, and compare the results against known Drosophila
genes, including artificial variants?
Are there any interesting correlations between the genes
found in the beer traps and those found in the bar's
regulars, one wonders?
(Indiscriminately collecting and sequencing all the drinkers
is not likely to find favour with the bar's management.)
||//Indiscriminately collecting and sequencing all the drinkers// Perhaps not, but you could collect their spittle. Simply arrange yourself to fall out the swinging saloon doors just ahead of your subject, wait with open sample jar while he lets fly with an epithet, and voila!
||A caution, though. Don't take funding from brewers. You
don't want valuable, critical, research to fall suspect in the
way of tobacco, food, fossil energy, and pharmaceuticals.