Thursday, June 14, 2007

Blue Genes

The Blue Lobstah

We shall now travel to beautiful New London, Connecticut, where we will attempt to translate the language of genetics. Steve Hatch and his uncle Robert Green pulled this blue beauty out of the water Sunday morning.

Only one out every few million lobsters is blue. And it’s due to a very rare genetic aberration. Maine Chemistry Professors Ronald Christensen and Harry Frank discovered that blue lobsters overproduce a blue protein called crustacyanin, which blocks the red pigment astaxanthin. The correct balance of both proteins makes brown lobsters; too much crustacyanin produces blue lobsters.

Blue food? That reminds me of blue raspberry flavored stuff. What the hell is blue raspberry? I mean, is it a raspberry? Is it a blueberry? Is it both? Who came up with that one? Some guy was sitting in an ad agency, and was like: “You know what is really boring these days? Raspberries. Let’s make them orange. No – BLUE! And kids will buy our stuff like it’s going out of style!”

Actually, blue raspberry flavor was originally derived from the Black Raspberry (Rubus leucodermis) which has a bluish-red color. But they’re nowhere near as blue as the artificial crap we get these days.

But it’s true. There IS a shortage of blue foods in nature. You’ve got blueberries and the occasional blue crustacean – but other than that, there’s nothing. Why do you think that is? Maybe the “wow factor” accounts for why kids love blue foods.

By the way, my daughters love blue yoghurt. I noticed something very strange the other night while changing a diaper. Ahem. The blue pigment is not – shall we say – easy to digest. That CAN’T be natural. I also ate some blue yoghurt. And no, I didn’t look.

I wonder what a blue lobster would taste like. It just so happens that our sapphire sweety received a stay of execution and was remanded to the custody of the Mystic Aquarium. But if you could, would you eat it? And do you think it would taste a bit “sweeter” than the average lobster? Kinda fruity?

Who cares. I just don’t get the appeal of strangely-colored foods.

Can you help me translate?


Burfica said...

I on the other hand love strangly colored foods. But I don't like fuzzy foods. Who makes fruit fuzzy?? yuckkkk Fuzzy means it's moldy and bad, don't wanna eat fuzzy.

Splantrik said...

About why so few blue animals, could it just be a camouflage thing? There are some blue things in the ocean (which is, sort of, blue), like dolphins, but there's nothing blue on land. Yes, that's kind of circular; no blue creatures because of no blue creatures. But maybe a significant population of blue creatures is necessary to sustain itself.

Translator said...

Bifurca - yes, fuzzy is not appetizing.

Splantrik - I think you're on to something there. The ocean provides a blue backdrop, on which blue pigments have an evolutionary advantage for camouflage. Not many blue surroundings up here on land.

Many animals have evolved blue pigmentation for species recognition and/or mate selection. Birds and insects come to mind.

I think the animal world uses blue pigment as an accent - not really a main color!

Thanks for commenting!

Michele said...

Colored foods just do not appeal to me... I remember about 3 or 4 years ago, Heinz Ketchup here in Canada, I'm not sure if it hit into the US, had introduced the purple and Dark "snot" green ketchups. Oh my word, I was guilty in purchasing these fads and even though they tasted just like red ketchup, squeezing dark purple sauce on my fries or "snot" green ketchup along my Chicken Hotdogs was disgusting and made me gag everytime I attempted to eat it, so I gave up on that altogether... color definitely turns it off for me!! Icky.

Translator said...

I remember the colored ketchup, michele! That was really weird! I never tried it though. The words "Shrek snot" came to mind when I saw the green one.

Beenzzz said...

Nah, I wouldn't eat it. It's too pretty to look at. Now, the dowdy reddish colored cousin is going on my plate.
Blue in the diaper, huh? It's bad enough what kids put in there without having that extra splash of color.

Translator said...

Yep, good point Beenzzz! Sand is something I find in there a lot. And we don't go to the beach. Guess it just spontaneously appears. Weird, huh?

Lady Omega said...

i want to own this lobster as a pet

Translator said...

Tempting, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by, Lady Omega! Come back soon!

McCafferty Himself said...

I don't think it is as scientific as all of that. I think that God was having a blue Monday when He created the heavens and the earth. That is why he skipped blue foods, and those blue diapers are proof.

God just decided that blue foods do not get digested.

I blame it on Mondays.