Monday, September 8, 2008

The perks of working in a fly lab...

I've been working with Drosophila (aka common fruit flies) at the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland this summer, and I've really learned a lot. In no particular order, here are my top ten reasons for checking out Drosophila:

1. You get to enjoy such cutting-edge technology as paintbrushes for probing flies, a large plastic tube for sucking up and moving flies (yes, with your mouth...), old jam jars for holding autoclaved microcentrifuge tubes, and paper towels for just about any imaginable emergency scenario. Oh yes, and gotta love the carnivorous plants sitting on the window ledge to catch escapees in the fly room and the alternative wine bottle traps.

2. Wanna be a neurosurgeon one day? Dissecting fly guts teaches you all the finesse and dexterity you'll need for the task-- one tug too hard and gut bacteria explode everywhere! After working with tweezers on the same miniscule fly for half an hour, you'll have enough patience to deal with anything in the oh-so-large human body.

3. Unlike those crazy chemists/molecular biologists/biochemists, you can enjoy a nice coffee/tea anytime on your (reasonably safe), hood-less bench.

4. Flies don't need Viagra, and as any kitchen owner knows, they seem to multiply exponentially overnight.

5. With Drosophila gene names like Spatzle, RING (really interesting new gene), and Eater, who can resist joining the fun??

6. No stinky E. coli cultures, no rodent feces or fishwater aroma. Instead, relax in the nice ambient temperature and inhale the warm and homey smell of fly media.

7. Hungry or thirsty during work? No problem-- just grab some of the bananas/fruit juice slated for generating fly food.

8. You instantly gain free pets at home. A LOT of them. Party in your room, anyone?

9. Now you can tell whether that annoying fruit fly you just squished was male or female (and make a decent stab at its genotype).

10. Mwhahahaha. So much power over the swarming masses. An entire generation in your hands. Think Lord of the Flies, or Beelzebub.

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