I was reading this article about the evolution of monarch butterflies’ resistance to cardiac glycosides: These Butterflies Evolved to Eat Poison. How Could That Have Happened?
And this passage made me curious:
The researchers put the mutant flies in a centrifuge and spun them for ten seconds. Afterward, the flies were overwhelmed by seizures for several minutes.
Ordinary flies, by contrast, immediately walked away from the laboratory carnival ride. Flies with the other two resistance mutations were also unharmed by the procedure.
Given that normal fruit flies are usually unharmed by the centrifuge, what made the researchers decide to spin the flies? I’m not a biologist, I’m a software engineer. So I’m just guessing that it might be a standard lab procedure when studying fruit flies. Assuming the researchers didn’t know the flies with mutation 122 alone would experience seizures, what do researchers usually expect to gain from spinning live flies in a centrifuge?