Oh, the gaffe-a-minute, never-vet-any-campaign-speech joy of the McCain campaign. Sarah Palin debuted both a new set of glasses and a new talking point about the way that the McCain/Palin administration will be smarter about the way government funds important programs:
Where does a lot of that earmark money end up anyway? [snip] You've heard about some of these pet projects they really don't make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.
Apparently, Palin isn't aware of the kind of research done with fruit flies. Pharyngula:
This idiot woman, this blind, shortsighted ignoramus, this pretentious clod, mocks basic research and the international research community. You damn well better believe that there is research going on in animal models — what does she expect, that scientists should mutagenize human mothers and chop up baby brains for this work? — and countries like France and Germany and England and Canada and China and India and others are all respected participants in these efforts.
Yes, scientists work on fruit flies. Some of the most powerful tools in genetics and molecular biology are available in fruit flies, and these are animals that are particularly amenable to experimentation. Molecular genetics has revealed that humans share key molecules, the basic developmental toolkit, with all other animals, thanks to our shared evolutionary heritage (something else the wackaloon from Wasilla denies), and that we can use these other organisms to probe the fundamental mechanisms that underlie core processes in the formation of the nervous system — precisely the phenomena Palin claims are so important.
In fact, irony of all ironies, fruit fly research has actually aided in understanding a genetic component or predisposition towards autism.