Monday, February 09, 2004

When you can't get a human to do it ...

... get an insect. They're much more agreeable, easier to maintain, and often will participate in just about any research you want. Plus they're usually cuter.

As an example of the versatility of insects, NASA's going to be sending some Drosophila to the space station so they can look at how life in space affects genetic expression over a number of generations (among other things). I doubt this will be Drosophila's first trip into space, but it sounds like this time the astronauts will be freezing individuals from each generation for mRNA analyses, exposing flies to various g's to simulate specific environments, and observing fly mating behaviors (which is not nearly as exciting as it sounds; I've done it). I wonder what Drosophila flying in zero gravity looks like ...

1 comment:

Radagast said...

Importing comments:

I agree with your logic, though I question your source material for extrapolation. Bipedal pigs are, I believe, rare, and last time I checked pigs did not have opposable digits.

However, considering that the spaceship interior looks about as realistic as Star Trek's ship interiors, and we all know Star Trek is real, I guess the photo must be legit! Thus Drosophila must look the same in space as they do on Earth
February 10, 2004, 10:31:28 PM PST – Like – Reply

Semantic Compositions
In order to figure out what Drosophila in space will look like, we can reason by analogy to other species brought into space. This strikes SC as a good place to start:

Pigs in Space

Seeing as the "Pigs in Space" look amazingly like "Pigs on Earth", I'll go out on a limb and guess that the resemblance holds up.

[edited by Radagast to add link and shorten length of URL]
February 10, 2004, 4:41:05 PM PST