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July 2013, vol 9, no 2

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Cherie Hunter Day

The Buzz on Campus

Drosophila melanogaster—from the Greek for 'dark-bellied dew lover'

Principles of Genetics was a required course for graduation for both Zoology majors and Biology majors—an equal opportunity to indoctrinate students in two colleges at the university. The lecture was every Tuesday and Thursday in the auditorium for an hour and a half, right after lunch. It was a deadly combination of Punnett squares on overheads, comfy movie seats with the lights out, and elevated blood sugar levels. This was naptime for many students until one day a genetics grad student dressed up as a giant drosophila. He made his way onstage in black tights and turtleneck, a set of glossy wings and halters, plus goggles painted vermilion for eyes. He harassed the professor and was an instant hit. Although he never became a fixture of the lecture, students had a new reason to show up for class. The attendance numbers swelled and even non-majors visited the lecture hoping to catch a glimpse of the antics of Mr. Fly.

our inheritance
along the zip line of base pairs
the likelihood
of cloning the gene
for a sense of humor