Fun Science Friday – Using the Force to Detect Cancer…. Sorta

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish! What does that have to do with this week’s Southern Fried Science…. nothing! But that quote always makes me laugh.

This week we bring you another crazy break through in science that involves fruit flies and cancer. No, fruit flies do not cause cancer… that we know of. I am probably a little late on this, but the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is the newest weapon in the fight against cancer. Yes you heard that right, man has turned one of the more annoying creatures into something useful! Useful for humans that is. 😉

Side view of a  a 0.1 x 0.03 inch (2.5 x 0.8 mm) small male fruit fly. Credit: André Karwath

Side view of a a 0.1 x 0.03 inch (2.5 x 0.8 mm) small male fruit fly.
Credit: André Karwath

Read More

Shark DNA Used to Buff Up Aquacultured Fish

It’s not every day that catching up on scientific literature causes you to almost do a spit-take on your laptop screen.  This happened to me recently due to the weird and wild world of aquaculture.  Aquaculture is the practice of growing aquatic animals such as fish and shellfish for the purpose of food, and has been held up as both a savior and destroyer of the marine ecosystem.  To get an idea of what this generally looks like (at least here in the U.S.), Amy has a whole series of posts on aquaculture operations in North Carolina.

As with land-based farming, aquaculturists are motivated to find ways to increase the food value of their stock.  The methods used are varied, from high-protein feed mixes to genetic manipulation.  Recently, farmed salmon genetically-modified to grow larger and faster than their wild conspecifics have been approved for human consumption by the FDA, though not without debate.  This man-made subspecies was created by modifying the already-existing DNA of the fish, but what if it turned out that simply injecting DNA from a different species could improve the growth and protein output of farmed fish?  And what if that foreign DNA came from sharks?

Read More