So I know that is is suppose to be a blog about bees. And more importantly, a blog about my bee research. But, I do have to get this off my chest, so I thought why not let me readers know how I feel. This is regarding Gov. Sarah Palin’s Policy speech this past Friday. And you probably know what just erked me…the fruit fly research remark. Palins remark, “You’ve heard about some of these pet projects they really don’t make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.” Really? Are you serious? Wow…that has been my response. Let see now, Thomas Hunt Morgan used fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) to identify chromosomes as the vectors of inheritance. In 1933 he won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for this work. Yup, completely useless. Of course there is that Drosophila-based research center at the University of North Carolina that focuses on autism. Yes people. That remark was made in the same speech outlining aid for special needs children, such as those with autism.
So, here are a few tid bits regarding why fruit flies are used as model organisms in science, particularly in genetics:
1. They are easily reared in the lab
2. They have short generation times, so you don’t have to wait years to study generations
3. They can be genetically manipulated, which makes it nice when trying to study specific diseases.
4. All animals, including fruit flies, share key molecules. So researchers can use these animals for understanding basic developmental functions such as nervous system development.
If Palin thinks that using fruit flies is useless to the public, researchers can go to Orphanges and begin using children for their research. Researchers can genetically manipulate them, breed them, study their physical appearance, breed the offspring, then grind some of them up to do some molecular biology experiments to study their genes. Would that be better?