Flies have pretty eyes

I made a quick trip to the lab this morning (it’s -25°C! I walked quickly!) to take some fly photos for this week’s genetics lab. The students are doing a simple complementation assay with fly eye colors — can you tell which one is scarlet (st) and which one is brown (bw)? Every year it’s a struggle to get them to recognize even obvious mutations like these, but it’s not the students’ fault. This is their first time working with flies, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the alienness of Drosophila.

Me, I’m always impressed with how beautiful their eyelashes are.

Of course, immediately after their glamorous photo shoot, these flies were sacrificed on the altar of the spider gods.


  1. says

    I’m always impressed with how beautiful their eyelashes are.

    I once commented to a friend that cows have impressively long lashes on their big brown eyes. He replied, “Not being a country boy, I haven’t the experience of gazing soulfully into their eyes.” (Because of my great tolerance, we’re still friends.)

  2. F.O. says

    I really don’t deal well with such callousness towards non-humans.
    Research is important, nature is horrible in itself but.. Joking about it, wallowing in the power we have on these hapless beings doesn’t really sit well with me.
    It feels like putting ourselves on a pedestal, it’s a shitty attitude.
    Even the drosophila we sacrifice for our own benefit deserve our respect.

  3. Just an Organic Regular Expression says

    If the abbreviation (code?) for scarlet is st, how come the code for brown isn’t bn?

  4. hemidactylus says

    Horkheimer anticipated PZ’s subversion by the culture industry:

    “Having given up autonomy, reason has become an instrument. In the formalistic aspect of subjective reason, stressed by positivism, its unrelatedness to objective content is emphasized; in its instrumental aspect, stressed by pragmatism, its surrender to heteronomous contents is emphasized. Reason has become completely harnessed to the social process. Its operational value, its role in the domination of men and nature, has been made the sole criterion. Concepts have been reduced to summaries of the characteristics that several specimens have in common.” – From Eclipse of Reason

    And the objectified reification of the bugs as alienated in eyes of the pupils. The flies will rise!