Gene of the Month - Lava lamp
Kat - And finally, here's our Gene of the Month, and this time it's Lava lamp. 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. Like the coloured bubbles in the novelty lamp, the Lava lamp protein is located in blobby pockets, known as vesicles, in a special part of the cell called the Golgi body.
Lava lamp seems to interact with another fly gene called Lrrk - a molecular cousin of a gene involved in human Parkinson's disease - and might be implicated in the development of the disease, as Golgi bodies are important for proper nerve structure and function.