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The buzz about cheapdate

Fly people have a notoriously off-putting way about naming genes.

Brendan Maher
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Fly people have a notoriously off-putting way about naming genes. A few places like FlyNome http://www.flynome.com attempt to explain the origins of cryptic phenotype descriptors such as 18-wheeler, ken and barbie, and wunen (which features, of course, aimlessly migrating germ cells much like the wandering pig, Wunen, from Chinese legend). Regardless, outsiders often find themselves doing a fair bit of head-scratching when trying to decipher Drosophila genetics.

Such behavior may be intentional, but it is by no means relegated to fly cliques. Frank Kelly Rich edits Modern Drunkard Magazine, the voice of the informed boozehound. He says he noticed a similar tactic while traveling the bars of the world. "There was, especially in certain regions like Boston ... a language, like a sublanguage to the bars, which you'll find in prisons and ethnic enclaves anywhere. ...It was a way of making outsiders feel uncomfortable," says Rich. "It's like...

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