Thursday, July 9, 2009

Episcopal Ubuntu Logo -- Genetically Altered Male Fruit Fly "Love Chain"?

As Peter Ould points out, the words "I in You and You in Me" in The Episcopal Church's 2009 General Convention "Ubuntu" logo are not Christian.

Maybe in a much larger size one can see a "swirl of dancing figures", but in the size of the image I have seen, it just looks to me like a circle of linked tassels or wings, a sort of flying winged circle. When coupled with the words 'I in you and you in me, I am reminded of the famous experiment with the genetically altered fruit flies forming an all male sexually linked circle.

The insects' mating mischief started after he and Zhang took their genetically engineered flies, housed in large bottles, and warmed the insects to 37oC for an hour. Afterwards, says Odenwald, "we began to see very long courtship chains traversing throughout our bottles." Some chains even turned back on themselves, forming long-lasting circles or intertwined chains of fruit flies.

That in itself was unusual. In normal mating, says Drosophila researcher Laurie Tompkins of Temple University in Philadelphia, a courting male fruit fly pursues a female, rubbing his genitals upon her from behind, licking her, and singing a "love song" by vibrating vibrating, using quivering hand motions made across the client's body for therapeutic purposes.

When Odenwald and Zhang took a closer look at their frenzied insects, a bigger surprise emerged. The lead flies in most of the chains were male. In fact, almost all the courting behavior they observed involved only males. Females avoided the male-dominated courtship chains, tending instead to cluster at the tops and bottoms of the bottles.

Hmmm, that last sentence about the female behavior is interesting. That is how I feel about The Episcopal Church -- I'm avoiding it, trying to stay away from those male-male courtship chains.

(My apologies to to all who value the African Ubuntu tradition.)

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