Friday, October 30, 2009

Quote of the Week: Halloween Horrors

The name 'coffin-fly' has been applied to Conicera tibiais of the family Phoridae, because this fly is able to maintain itself through many successive generations in coffined bodies that have been interred for a year or more. The fact has long been known, but even today no one really knows how the fly gets there. It seems unlikely, for a variety of reasons, that the eggs are laid on the body before burial, and so either the adult fly or the larva must find its way down through several feet of soil. This seems a difficult feat when we think of its being performed by each larva or each adult fly, but, as in many problems to do with animals, time and continuity make most things possible.

from The Natural History of Flies by Harold Oldroyd

Monday, October 26, 2009

Breaking Report: in vivo RNAi to look at cell survival in the fly wing

What am I reading today? A new report from Umemori et al. (2009) RNAi-Mediated Knockdown Showing Impaired Cell Survival in Drosophila Wing Imaginal Disc. Gene Regulation and Systems Biology 2009:3 1-10.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Breaking Report: Allele-Specific siRNAs

What's on my desk today? A report with relevance to RNAi reagent design and treatment of genetic diseases: Huang et al. (2009) Profiling of mismatch discrimination in RNAi enabled rational design of allele-specific siRNAs. NAR. doi:10.1093/nar/gkp835

Friday, October 9, 2009

Quote of the Week: Attachment

Your garden is an insect zoo, where you can go at any time of the year and see what the insects are doing. Some of them come and go, while others stay in the same place all their lives. ... [Most] are not very attractive, like the plant bugs and beetles. This does not mean that they are not interesting, and if you ... look at them every day, you may become quite attached to them.

From, The Insects in Your Garden by Harold Oldroyd

Monday, October 5, 2009

Breaking Reports: Primary Cell RNAi Protocol & Mitochondrial Screen

Bai et al. (2009) Culture of Drosophila primary cells dissociated from gastrula embryos and their use in RNAi screening. Nat Protoc. 4(10):1502-12.

Jiang et al. (2009) Genome-wide RNAi screen identifies Letm1 as a mitochondrial Ca2+/H+ antiporter. Science. 326(5949):144-7. And see comment: Science 326(5949):57-8.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Demo: Whole-Slide Imaging

The DRSC is hosting a demo instrument for whole-slide imaging. If you're local to the Boston area and interested, please contact me -or- drop by NRB 350 on Mon. Oct. 5 for an introduction to the technology (10-11 AM) and a related talk (11 AM - noon).

Quote of the Week: Spirals

Of true organic spirals we have no lack. We think at once of horns of ruminants, and of still more exquisitely beautiful molluscan shells ... Closey related spirals may be traced in the florets of a sunflower; a true spiral, though not, by the way, so easy of investigation, is seen in the outline of a clodiform leaf; and yet again, we can recognise typical though transitory spirals in a lock of hair, in a staple of wool, in the coil of an elephant's trunk, in the 'circling spirals' of a snake, in the coils of a cuttle-fish's arm, or of a monkey's or a chameleon's tail.
Among such forms as these, and the many others which we might easily add to them, it is obvious that we have to do with things which, though mathematically similar, are biologically speaking fundamentally different; and not only are they biologically remote, but they are also physically different, in regard to the causes to which they are severally due.

Sir D'Arcy Thompson, On Growth and Form

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Breaking Report: Huntingtin Aggregation Screen

On my desk today? Doumanis et al. (2009) RNAi Screening in Drosophila Cells Identifies New Modifiers of Mutant Huntingtin Aggregation. PLoS One. 4(9)37275. Free on-line access. Authors report a primary screen in BG2 cells stably expressing a poly-Q EGFP thatform aggregates with a library they generated (about 7200 genes). Follow-up includes in vivo RNAi in fly eye and brain.