The Medical Research Council (MRC) currently has links to six press releases on the front page of its Website. One of them is about work by the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) on HIV and another is about work on the pufferfish genome by a group at the Human Genome Mapping Project Resource Centre—now the Rosalind Franklin Centre for Genomics Research (RFCGR).
Fugu rupribes or pufferfish have a similar number of genes to humans, but very little “junk” DNA between those genes. The human genome, in contrast, is over 90 percent “non-coding”. Please don’t ask me why; I don’t know. Neither does anyone at the RFCGR know the answers to some of the wacky questions that people send in to us about pufferfish, for example: “How can I stop my dog from eating puffer fish? why does he eat them? they are spikey and smell foul.”
We do have a pufferfish called Gizmo, however. Say hello to him [big image]. He might have a tidy genome, but will he ever come up with something like this? 2-1 to the humans.
Here is a surprisingly entertaining account (so far uncorrected) of the Houses of Parliament’s Science and Technology Select Committee discussing the MRC’s plans for the future of the NIMR, complete with juicy tales of alleged late night telephone threats.
There’s no need to threaten anyone at the RFCGR. We will be shut down in July. On that latter point:
- I’m not bitter.
- Gi’ us a job.
And here’s Gizmo all plated up awaiting the adventurous gastro-tourist. There doesn’t seem to be a health warning on this display either.
Killer fact! If you bring them up right in captivity, pufferfish ain’t poisonous.
Ahh, the old nature or nuture debate. 😉