Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I've recently been isolating DNA from the reproductive organs of Drosophila. This is easiest to do if the material is fresh -- e.g., if the fly is essentially still kicking. A practiced hand can remove the appropriate tissues deftly from a carbon dioxide-anesthetized fly and deposit the critter into a vial of 100% ethanol before the poor bug ever knows what hit it. I'm not in possession of anything resembling a practiced hand yet.

Since I really don't like my partially dissected insects still kicking, I've figured out that moving them from a carbon dioxide-laden environment to a dish chilled on ice keeps them anesthetized and vastly reduces the trauma to all involved. Maybe it's just that I like my bugs so much, but it seems the least I can do. Of course, I've been through a gonadal dissection myself, and the person performing it had the good sense to make sure I wasn't kicking during the procedure either. So, I guess to me, it's just common courtesy.

Anyway, the DNA was beautiful (the fly DNA -- I really don't know whether anyone bothered with mine), and I'll be doing some interesting things with it tomorrow. Oh, and Rick's coming up for the weekend. I'll have someone with whom to explore the city at leisure. Best of all, no flies will be harmed in the course of these activities.


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