who is funding this research?

I kid you not, this is an actual abstract from the 49th annual Drosophila conference coming up in April.  I have removed the authors names, but I can’t believe this is seriously what they submitted:

Interspecies variability and genetic analysis of phallus hairiness in sibling species of the Drosophila virilis species group

Copulatory organ has arisen as a separate morphological structure in Apterygots for the first time in evolution of animals. The 9-11th abdomen segments are supposed to take part in its formation in these species. It is known that rate of evolution of traits related to the structure and functioning of animal reproductive system of closely-related species is many times higher than that of other characters. Sibling Drosophila species are the most convenient living model for studying genetic basis of evolution of male mating organ. Microchaetes, being a mechanical sensory organ, occupy a special place among numerous characters of male mating organ.  In insects, the whole body including abdomen is covered by chaetae of proneural origin. One may expect that evolutionary transformations of abdomen to internal genitals should lead to microchaetes reduction. Nevertheless, phallus hairiness is a well known phenomenon in Leucophenga, Scaptodrosophila and others. In this study genetic determination of phallus downiness was studied in sibling species of the D. virilis species group. Microchaetes thickly cover the top of the middle part of aedeagus in species of the D. montana phylad occupying up to a quarter of its length. In species of the D. lummei phylad only males of D. lummei have microchaetes on the phallus top, while other species are characterized by bald-headed aedeagi. Strain of D. virilis with chromosomes marked with several recessive mutations and a wild type strain of D. lummei were used for genetic analysis. 475 phallus samples were prepared and analyzed. Leading role in microchaetes formation on the phallus top of the second and sixth chromosomes has been showed.

Or in layman’s terms: we compare the amount of hair on the penis of flies.

I included the abstract so you can justify what they work on.  Have fun explaining that one to chicks at the bar.

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