These days, when you want to see what makes an organism tick, you order up a scan of its genes. And as it happens, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, Calif., were sequencing a bunch of organisms, and they had a little extra room in their DNA-reading machines. So biologists at UC-Berkeley thought they’d throw in Naegleria‘s DNA as well, and Fritz-Laylin got put on the project.“I started doing it, playing around, trying to figure out how to do that. And I really fell in love,” she says. “You take this organism that oozes and is slow and clumsy, and basically you just stress it out, and it becomes this fast, fun, kind of bird-like organism.”
Read more and listen to the NPR story at WBUR.org.