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Phoenix Feathers is updated on Tuesday and Friday

I don't know if anyone's noticed, but I tend to update Phoenix Feathers the night before they're supposed to go up. This is actually Thursday, as I type, and it's 23:24. Ugh. The reason I'm mentioning this is basically so I can whinge about my mosquitoes.

I'm doing a PhD on the genetic control of the development of the bristles on the back of the mosquito, with the idea of comparing it to that of the fruit fly (beloved of geneticists) and seeing what evolution has done to the system over the millions of years between the mosquito and the fruit fly. To do a major part of this, I need lots of mosquito pupae, and they must be young pupae. We raise them from eggs, since we're not allowed to breed them, and when they get to pupal stage I dissect them. The problem is, they must be young or the genes I'm interested in stop being expressed. And the current batch have decided they're going to pupate exclusively overnight. There's no light in the incubator they're raised in, so it must be sheer obnoxious-ness (they rate pretty high on the scale of obnoxious-ness anyway; these are Anopheles gambiae, the malaria mosquito) that makes them pupate at this time.

So tonight I will mount a lone vigil in the lab, checking the tank every half hour and dissecting the hapless mozzies that choose tonight to pupate. I am going to be very frustrated if I only have two or three.

Tomorrow I am going to sleep for a very long time.

Update: I got 6. Grrr.

- Sun Kitten, 26th July '02

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