Tapping and Licking

This post for mature adults only!

It gently tapped the girl with its leg, played her a song (using wings as instruments) and, only then, dared to lick her…

Alright, calm down!… I know this is off the beaten path a bit but when I saw a sexual study about fruit flies, I had to give it a gander… I have got to give these researchers credit. Anyone who would want to study fruit flies having sex, or anyone who could “see” fruit flies having sex without the ittle buggers flying off gets my utmost respect.

Did any of you ever study fruit flies in high school or college genetics class? You start out the semester with a few little clean bottles of agar and end the semester with a room full of flies! Fruit flies everywhere! And, while you’re studying the little red-eyed or curled wing varieties, you do most of the analysis after the flies have been soaked in ether for a while. They aren’t going anywhere! I could not imagine trying to observe the little fella’s sexual practices. Lord, watching those hyper little critters having sex would be enough to send me over the edge. Anyway, here are the results from this controversial (?) fruit fly sexual study which I found interesting:

That one gene, the researchers are announcing today in the journal Cell, is apparently by itself enough to create patterns of sexual behavior – a kind of master sexual gene that normally exists in two distinct male and female variants.

In a series of experiments, the researchers found that females given the male variant of the gene acted exactly like males in courtship, madly pursuing other females. Males that were artificially given the female version of the gene became more passive and turned their sexual attention to other males.

“We have shown that a single gene in the fruit fly is sufficient to determine all aspects of the flies’ sexual orientation and behavior,” said the paper’s lead author, Dr. Barry Dickson, senior scientist at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. “It’s very surprising.

“What it tells us is that instinctive behaviors can be specified by genetic programs, just like the morphologic development of an organ or a nose.”

The results are certain to prove influential in debates about whether genes or environment determine who we are, how we act and, especially, our sexual orientation, although it is not clear now if there is a similar master sexual gene for humans.

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