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Library Corner...
January 2003

I am afraid I have not had time to prepare a Library Corner this month as a family emergency has demanded I send this update off prematurely. Of course you will all have made new year resolutions and I am sure one was to visit the library at least once per month. Accordingly I expect contributions to start rolling in for the February issue.

I did happen across a Scientific American in my ramblings this last month and found a couple of cautionary tales. The first related to the problem we all have going to the Doctor. A study from Brigham Young University has found among 4,700 couples in their 50's that a sickly male was more likely to have a sickly partner than healthy men were. 2% of very healthy men had wives in poor health and 5% had partners in fair health. In contrast 13% of ill men had sick partners and 24% had partners in fair health. The suggestion was made that if we are feeling ill but can't get to the Doctor we should send our partners! The report was authored by Sven Wilson and published in Social Science and Medicine.

The other cautionary tale related to fruit flies. I was aware that the fruit fly gender could be determined by incubation temperature but that isn't all. A group at the Beckman Research Institute, City Of Hope, Duarte California have implanted a heat sensitive mutant gene that targeted specific neurons, including taste sensing cells on the head and legs, and disrupted neurotransmitter activity of those cells. When warmed to 30 degrees Celsius males began courting males. Cooling resulted in the return of heterosexual behaviour. The authors propose that the taste nerves normally suppress homosexual behaviour after detecting male antiaphrodisiac pheromones The report was authored by Toshihiro et al and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Must get my air conditioning going!

Happy reading!!

Kevin Gain

 

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