To kick off our centenary celebrations, we have launched a fun-fact calendar that features a different, entertainingly named gene on each day of “Genuary”.
Here is the first two-weeks worth:

Date Gene Info
1 Jan
Pic: Kelsey Knight via Unsplash CC0
Happy Hour – along with the Cheap Date and Hangover genes – is involved in alcohol metabolism in fruit flies and knowing about it may just be enough to put you off your favourite tipple!
2 Jan
Pic: JD Hancock, via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Spock is one of a number of genetic mutations that affect hearing in zebrafish – and yes, it does give them little pointy ears
3 Jan
Pic: Skitterphoto via Pexels CC0
Just like their plastic toy counterparts, male and female fruit flies with a fault in their Ken and Barbie gene have no external genitals
4 Jan
Pic: Benji mellish via Pexels CC0
The Dachshund gene helps to define the correct pattern of segments in a fly’s limbs – without it, the insects have unusually short legs
5 Jan
Pic: Alice Pasqual via Unsplash CC0
Spaghetti controls another known as Doubletime, which helps to set a fruit fly’s bodyclock
6 Jan
Pic: via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Fruit fly embryos with a faulty version of armadillo are stubby and hunched with their body segments fused together
7 Jan
Pic: Melvina Mak via Unsplash CC0
Short for “POK erythroid myeloid ontogenic”, the Pokémon gene was renamed Zbtb7 after threat of legal action
8 Jan
Pic: Henrique Setim via Unsplash CC0
Scott of the Antarctic (Now known to be a version of another gene called Greatwall), this adventurous gene helps to pull chromosomes to the cell’s poles as it divides
9 Jan
Pic: Bermejo – Christ Leading the Patriarchs to Paradise via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Like the biblical character who apparently lived to 969, fruit flies with a short version of Methuselah have an unusually long lifespan
10 Jan
Pic: via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Having a faulty Groucho gene gives fruit flies unusually bushy bristles over their eyes – remind you of anyone?
11 Jan
Pic: niXerKG via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0
Sonic Hedgehog is One of 3 mammalian versions of the fruit fly Hedgehog gene (Indian & Desert are the others), Sonic Hedgehog sets up patterns in the developing brain, gut & limbs
12 Jan
Pic: Joe via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0
Cells from fruit flies with mutations in the Tribbles gene multiply uncontrollably, much like the furry critters in Star Trek
13 Jan
Pic: Christopher Campbell via Unsplash CC0
First found in zebrafish, animals with faults in their Mind Bomb gene have problems growing a nervous system & muscles
14 Jan
Pic: Wizard80210 via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0
Fruit flies with a faulty version of Tinman lack a dorsal vessel – the insect equivalent of a heart – just like the Wizard of Oz character
15 Jan
Pic: Corey Harris via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0
Flowers from cress plants with a faulty version of Superman have extra male parts – the pollen-producing stamens – and fewer female seed-producing carpels
16 Jan
Pic: Pixabay via Pexels CC0
A fruit fly gene named after the fiery dragon that attacks dwarves in the Hobbit, Smaug inhibits a protein called Nanos (Greek for Dwarf)
17 Jan
Pic: Risa1029 CC BY-SA 4.0
Named after the popular and somewhat hypnotic 1960s decorative lighting fixture, Lava lamp was first identified in fruit flies in the year 2000 when researchers were looking for genes involved in helping cells to split in two as they divide in the early embryo.
18 Jan
xPic: Beatriz Pérez Moya via Unsplash CC0
This fruit fly Matrimony gene holds together chromosomes in egg cells until they’re ready to divide at fertilisation