Tuesday, August 30, 2005

More flies

I remember the article in Science five years ago announcing the sequencing of the fruit fly's genome. The thing that struck me most forcibly was the list of nearly 200 authors, including names like Amanatides, Agbayani, Basu, Blazej, Bolshakov, Chandra, de Pablos, Ferraz, Gu, Jalali, Murphy, Puri, Rubin, and Zhang -- an apparent United Nations of ethnicity -- working in public and private institutions in eight countries.

It is one of the glories of science that it manages to transcend the fractious divisions that characterize so many human activities. And why not? At the level of the DNA, we are all pretty much the same, more alike than we are different. We are a single species that somehow manages to spend an inordinate amount of our time bashing each other for superficial differences.