Oh boy, I get to introduce the students to epistasis!

It’s been another busy day working on the genetics lab, getting ready for the next step in our complementation assay. This week it’s more theory than practice — we’re awaiting the emergence of our F1 flies, which will tell us a great deal about the genetics of fly eye color.


  1. says

    I don’t know if you do requests, or even if this is something you’d have even the time or desire to look at, but there was a recent article in Salon in which the author is saying that there is a new study that shows that beneficial genes have been seen to actually mutationally arise in response to the environment. It says that there is a specific anti-malarial gene that arises (not just fixes) more often in African blacks than in whites. Here’s one of the quotes from one of the researchers, at the University of Haifa in Israel:

    “This shows empirically for the first time a directional response of mutation to a specific long-term environmental pressure. This sort of result cannot be explained by neo-Darwinism, which is limited to explaining minor, gross-level effects on average mutation rates, not responses of specific mutations to specific environmental pressures. Therefore, the implications are that here there is an empirical finding that neo-Darwinism really cannot explain, which challenges the notion of random mutation on a fundamental level.”

    I have no idea whether this really is something new, or the researchers are probably making some mistake in what they are doing, or, on this topic, I am incapable of reading for content. Rather than “doing my own research” in this area, which would be ludicrous (which I am totally unqualified to do, even though that doesn’t stop the MAGAs), maybe addressing it would interest you?

    Anyways, here’s the link to the story: https://www.salon.com/2022/02/05/biologists-surprised-to-discover-that-some-random-mutations-may-not-be-so-random/

    The story has a link to the published study itself.

  2. PaulBC says

    You know what they say. First it’s epistasis, next it’s apostasy. You sneaky evilutionist you!

  3. says

    Genetic engineering in movies: These monsters/virus/zombies will kill us all!
    Genetic engineering in real life: I can decide the color of the eyes of a fruit fly. Sometimes… Maybe…

  4. birgerjohansson says

    Ray Ceeya @ 4
    A more cool thing to do would be “patch up one of those endogenous retroviruses in the genome, make it work and watch what happens”.

  5. seachange says

    We are (presumably) talking about mutants. The w+ alleles are hidden. I dunno if these videos you have loaded here on FtB are the only source of information for students, but nowhere is it explained how to make sure your particular fly is virgin.

    Are there standardized laboratory sources for st and bw flies where you are guaranteed for a price that there aren’t any hidden irregular w+ alleles, or just plain not-b+ or not-w+ alleles that mess with everything oh noes?

    How likely is a ‘shutoff’ gene like -white- (or perhaps -White-?) to show up all by itself, and is this organism dependent?

  6. dianne says

    Read the headline as “introduce the students to epistaxis”. I was worried about why and how you were causing nosebleeds in your students.