Ode to the Fruit Fly, by Curt Stern.

This week I was browsing trough this new book the Drosophila world is happy to place on the lab shelf, next the the red book*, blue book**, and fly pushing***. It’s the Atlas of Drosophila Morphology, written by Sylwester Chyb and Nicolas Gompel. It’s absolutely beautiful, and will be helpful to all fly pushers.(here is a  professional review)

At the beginning, there is this citation of Curt Stern I just love. I think this is a beautiful description of how every true fly pushers feels when looking at flies under the binocular microscope.

“For more than 25 years I have looked at the little fruit fly Drosophila and each time I find fresh delight. When I see Drosophila under moderate magnification of a binocular microscope I marvel at the clearcut form of the head with giant red eyes, the antennae, and elaborate mouth parts; at the arch of the sturdy thorax bearing a pair of beautifully iridescent, transparent wings and three pairs of legs; at the design of the simple abdomen composed of a series of ringlike segments. A shining, waxy armor of chitin entirely covers the body of the insect. In some regions this armor is bare, but in others regions there arise short or long outgrowths – the bristles – strong and wide at the base and gently tapering off to a fine point. Narrow grooves, as in fluted columns with a slightly baroque twist, extend along their lengths.” -Curt Stern, 1954. Two or three bistles, American Scientist, 42, p. 213.

Don’t you feel exactly the same way when looking at your flies ?

* The Genome of Drosophila melanogaster, by Dan L. Lindsley and Georgianna G. Zimm

** Drosophila: A Laboratory Handbook, by Michael Ashburner , Kent Golic and R. Scott Hawley

*** Fly Pushing, by R. J. Greenspan

PI Quotes – 4 “Writing is very hard work”

New PI quote today, and this one comes from my nowadays PI ! It’s still related to the writing process I talked about in my previous post. As I said, I had never written a real scientific article (when you’re 24 I think it’s still OK to say that); and started with a review a few months ago. It got published over summer.

After I wrote the first draft, I gave it to my supervisor and he sent me back a tracked changed version. Among other things, he wrote :

“Please do remember that writing is very hard work, and a lot of rewriting, deleting, until you are fully fed up with it….
Nevertheless, we are getting there.”

At that point I was so psyched about getting to write a review that I thought it was crazy and impossible to be fully fed up with it.At the end of the submitting/revision/rewriting process, I knew what he meant. So for those of you who are newbies in writing (like me), be aware ! You’ll notice that I also have the nicest and most supportive supervisor ever, since he added the comforting “we are getting there” to reduce the shock when seeing all the track changes he made …


Have a great week-end …