Don’t Fly Away…

In Drosophila We Salute...

Today I wish to pay tribute to one of the main workhorses and unsung heroes of Genetics. The one creature that many of us overlook. The one creature many of us love to hate. The one creature most of us are grossed up about. But also the one creature that many of us unknowingly owe our understanding of our biological existance and lives to. Today I wish to pay tribute to the most unlikely of heroes in genetics. Here we have it, the Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly.

You might say so what…it’s just a fly. How could it posibly important to us? Well…this fly has more in common than anyone might think. Consider the fact that this fly shares about 2/3 of your DNA. I don’t have to tell you how important that may be. Ever since Thomas Hunt Morgan, the father of modern genetics picked this little bugger out as his personal test subjects. We have discovered so much about genetics. With it…we understood what genes and chromosomes were. With them, we saw what mutations meant to our evolutionary nature. We them, we have unlocked the ideas where our behaviour might be pre-programmed. With this little cretin, we are coming close to understanding the mechanics behind Alzhiemers, Parkinsons and even Cancer…and maybe…find the cure for them.

Alot of people think that lab rats are the commonly used animal in research, but the truth is, they are not. Who needs rats when you can breed 30 generations of these buzzing creatures a year compared to 4 generations of rats? Who needs rats when you can feed and keep the little buggers for a fraction of what you need to keep rats?

We have brutalised these overlooked insects for decades and not just with a fly-swatter too. We have fed them immense amounts of mutagenic material, we have bombarded them with X-Rays and Gamma Rays. We have made them grow legs out of their heads and reproductive organs out of their eyes. We have allowed them to get drunk, deprived them of sleep and otherwise put them through situations that would make even a medieval torturer squemish.. Yet they have survived and shown us ways into the human biology like no other.

Yet be wary…for all the rapid evolution and experiments we have brought on these insects. They are becoming smarter. We have them live longer, react faster, endure much more than any human can ever endure. Soon these humble insects will overthrow their human masters and they will be the masters swatting us with large human-swatters and subjecting the former scientists to unimagniable experiments.

I for one would not like to be the subject of these experiments but would gladly follow out soon-to-be fly masters into the prosperous future. So for our soon to be rulers. I, salute you. Endure…endure and grow strong so shall you reap the benefits of those that have gone before…I, your humble servant shall be waiting to follow your every whim and command.

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