And now, itís time for Gene of the Month - Escargot. Found in fruit flies and named after the French word for snail, but also known as the less exotic Fleabag, the protein encoded by the Escargot gene is whatís known as a transcription factor, responsible for turning other genes on and off. It was found back in 1992, and was named because itís very similar to another fruit fly gene called Snail.
In flies, Escargot plays a number of different roles in a growing fly embryo, and is involved in the development of breathing tubes, called trachea, wings, reproductive organs and nervous system. Amusingly, for biologists anyway, the human version of Escargot is called Slug, and seems to be involved in the development of the brain and limbs. Thereís also growing evidence that it may be involved in cancer too.