Saturday, October 25, 2008

Drosophilia Melanogaster Fun Facts

Sure, as quoted by Tristero on Hullabaloo, they're incredibly important to genetic research thanks to their "small size, short generation time, and large brood size." You probably knew that.

What you didn't know is that they're also as intelligent as your typical Republican speechwriter and vice-presidential candidate!

Sarah Palin isn't the issue here. Sure, I'll concede that this illustrates Palin's breathtaking ignorance AND her stupidity. After all, she agreed to repeat it. But what it really demonstrates is how unqualified the upper echelons of the Republican party are to run this country. She certainly didn't write this speech: John McCain's advisers did and approved every appalling word.

The subject is government funding of scientific research:
Where does a lot of that earmark money end up anyway? […] 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.
If you know anything at all about science in the 21st century, then you know that the study of fruit flies (aka Drosophilia melanogaster) has led to some of the most important discoveries in biology, genetics, and related topics. Why is that?
Embryogenesis in Drosophila has been extensively studied, as its small size, short generation time, and large brood size makes it ideal for genetic studies.
The fruit fly's utility in genetic research, in and of itself, is enough to justify its study.
Of course it is! Anybody who had even heard of genetics had heard of fruit fly studies. They're as common as, well, fruit flies.

But wingnuts, of course, don't believe in genetics, so they won't care that:

About 75% of known human disease genes have a recognizable match in the genetic code of fruit flies (Reiter et al (2001) Genome Research: 11(6):1114-25), and 50% of fly protein sequences have mammalian analogues. An online database called Homophila [1] is available to search for human disease gene homologues in flies and vice versa. Drosophila is being used as a genetic model for several human diseases including the neurodegenerative disorders Parkinson's, Huntington's, spinocerebellar ataxia and Alzheimer's disease. The fly is also being used to study mechanisms underlying aging and oxidative stress, immunity, diabetes, and cancer, as well as drug abuse.
Only suckers and weaklings do science to help sick people! REAL men rely on "the market" (or the intercession of the Republican deity of your choice) to cure their ills!

But pity the poor Palin clan. Their mother appears to be working to doom their youngest. After all, she's got all the resources of the Republican party at her command, so she must surely have been told that Fruit fly research has led to advances in understanding autism. And pity those who enjoy olive oil; apparently at least part of the research was dedicated to keeping the California olive harvest free from fruit flies.

But don't pity the Republicans. The dumbasses deserve what they're gonna get.

No comments:

Post a Comment