What I taught today: toroids!

Hox 11/13 expression in an echinoderm blastula

It was the last day of classes for us. I brought donuts.

Dammit, I just realized I missed a golden opportunity. I should have talked to them about Thrive and Pivar and Fleury and Andrulis. Crackpot fringe developmental biologists all seem to have a thing for donuts.

Rats. Well, I’ll just send all my students an email and tell them they have to come back. They don’t even realize the importance of our little snack together.


  1. ChasCPeterson says

    I brought donuts.

    uh huh.
    Did you also solicit your student evaluations?

  2. marcoli says

    Here is an old development joke:
    “There is no convergent extension. The blastocoel sucks”.
    Thank you, thank you, be sure to tip your waiter..

  3. Sastra says

    Crackpot fringe developmental biologists all seem to have a thing for donuts.

    Crackpots?! Fringe?! O ye fool, these scientists are on the cutting edge! You only scoff because you fear the power of the Eternal Circle! You reject spirituality out of ego! But soon, soon you will see …. how soon? Very, very soon, that’s how soon. We are all sitting on the cusp of a paradigm shift. Wait!

    But don’t hold your breath!

    I actually sat through Thrive. I could have used some donuts, but of course all the snacks were organic, natural, and healthy.

  4. says

    Did you also solicit your student evaluations?

    Oh, crap! Another missed opportunity! I did the student evaluation thing on Monday.

  5. ChasCPeterson says

    I see where that little picture of a blurry purple ring is tagged “echinodermhox11”. So I tried to find out what the homologous genes do in vertebrates, and I think they’re active in the radius/ulna/tibia/fibula parts of tetrapod limbs and maybe some posteriorish body segments, i.e. areas functioning mostly in locomotion.
    So I was wondering if the purple ring of echinoderm expression was perhaps associated with their water vascular system? because that would be cool.

    Alos, this pic reminds me: PZ: on the old pharyngula.org server you had a tiny little movie clip of spiral cleavage happening. I can’t find it or anything like it anywhere. If you know what I’m talking about (I think it was a post about the direction of snail torsion and coiling?) plz repost someplace? thanks!

  6. hillaryrettig says

    Joan Slonczewski wrote a fantastic novel about a world where the fundamental morphology is toroidal, The Children Star. Everything from cute little toroidal bugs, to toroidal fish rotating around, to fast toroidal antelope types, to big giant elephant sized megatoroids, etc. I don’t think it mentions donuts once, though – a lamentable lapse, although perhaps to a toroidal being cruellers = donuts.

  7. says

    Now that I read the gyre thing again, it reminds me of someone trying to approach fractals as not a math but a foundation for expecting patterns. Probably not the best way to approach things, although the world does have repeating patterns like that, if not so cleanly as the math version.