Tag Archives: genetics

Fruit Fly Fascination: Genetics

close up fruit fly resting

Isn’t it cute, this little cousin Drosophila M.?

Long ago, when I worked in an office and for someone other than myself, I wrote an article about genetic nomenclature.

The main point was that, since humans share significant quantities of DNA with fruit flies, much of genetic research involves studying and naming fruit fly genes. The article also discussed how irreverent gene names are humorous in the case of fruit flies (Buttonhead, Cheap Date), but might be less so in the context of human genetics and epidemiology.

While I don’t link to these old articles as a matter of personal principle (aka stubbornness), I will say the research for many of them introduced me to fascinating ideas on health, nutrition, science, fitness and more. It was in that job, and in spite of it, that I came to know my inner science nerd.

So that’s basically my lead-up into a cheat post – things are busy, and so today I give you a link. Take yourself to this piece on delaying aging in fruit flies with the flip of a gene, and get intrigued with ideas about healthier aging.

Even if you don’t read the article, please walk away with this: science and medicine are endlessly fascinating, and always investigating new ways to potentially make our lives healthier, more comfortable and longer. Not to say that every endeavor is without its drawbacks, but this is what differentiates us from the victims of the so many terrible diseases. For the sake of our children, grandchildren and ourselves, we owe genetics (and these fruit flies) a nod.

Oh, to see the medical capabilities of the 22nd century. Imagine how much we have yet to learn. As summer wanes, and we swat the last of the fruit flies from that lovely seasonal produce, remember that he or she might hold the key to the next big medical answer.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Science

The Turncoat Body

Benedict Arnold color portrait paintingI’ve always thought of myself as a healthy person, fortunate in a body compliant with my physical ideals.

That same body, to whom I’ve been very kind in recent years, recently turned on me in two separate ways. While neither situation is serious or permanent, both were nevertheless a glitch in my normally steady health.

First was the slightly elevated cholesterol at the end of January. I was incredulous. How does a dairy-sensitive pescetarian get high cholesterol? Despite the fact that my HDL (good) cholesterol was excellent, that darn LDL (bad) cholesterol apparently enjoyed some winter egg and cream cheese indulgence (I may have cooked one too many batches of creamy white chili). I’m now slightly haunted by what my cholesterol must have measured 10 years ago… Genetics and comfort food are powerful, my friends.

My doctor (who, I must tell you, is endlessly wonderful regarding my health anxiety) says my age, low cardiac risk and good HDL actually counter the small elevation quite well, and I have no cause for alarm. Diet, exercise, a redraw in six months. Calm restored.

Continue reading


Filed under Health, History Buff

Telomere Me – Thinking of the Future

Full disclosure: The main reason I started writing this post (way back in early June)  is that I really liked the word ‘telomere’ – I like the way it looks and I like the way it sounds. The content just happens to be interesting science stuff, and relevant to each and every one of us.

Ok, so have you ever had your palm read? How about your DNA? What if I told you that there was a way to get your life line interpreted by reading the tips of your chromosomes?

Would you buy it?

Continue reading


Filed under Health, Science