Yeah? Count This *THWAK!*: Scientists Evolve Fruit Flies That Can Count (And It Only Took 40 Generations!)

July 17, 2012


A group of geneticists have successfully evolved a line of fruit flies that can count. Because that's just what we need, counting insects. How about evolving a fly that just drops dead when you yell, "DIE SCUM" at it? Because that would actually be useful. Also useful? Something that gets those last few drops of pee out of your dangle. "It's called shaking." But guys might think I'm playing with myself!

The research team, made up of geneticists from Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and the University of California, repeatedly subjected test flies to a 20-minute mathematics training session. The flies were exposed to two, three or four flashes of light, with two or four flashes coinciding with a shake of the container the flies were kept in. Following a pause, the flies were again subjected to the flashing light, however none prepared themselves for a repeat of the shake since they could not discern a difference between two, three or four flashes. That is, until the key 40th generation of descendants were put to the test.

You know what scientists SHOULD be breeding? Dinosaurs. And they should be breeding them with me. That way...I dunno, hybrids and stuff. Survival of the species. Are any of you scientists buying this? I'm also willing to be a surrogate as long as, you know, we can do it the old fashioned way. *pointing at butt* Put a baby in here.

Thanks to EC and Andra, whose cats can't even count.

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