I am happy to report that Drosophila geneticists have not lost their sense of humor in the last 40 years. This paper from 2003 describes the cloning and characterization of a novel meiotic arrest gene, which they name cookie monster, “because the cells look like a whole bunch of cookie monster eyes”.
Cookie monster is a meiotic arrest gene that plays an important role in spermatogenesis. In order to produce viable sperm, a large number of genes have to be transcribed in a specific sequence. This sequence is partially orchestrated by cookie monster, which binds to chromatin and facilitates the unwinding of this DNA-protein complex prior to engagement of RNA polymerase II. In the absence of cookie monster, spermatocytes fail to complete meiosis, leading to sterile male flies Female flies don’t mind not having a cookie monster.
J. Jiang, H. White-Cooper (2003) Transcriptional activation in Drosophila spermatogenesis involves the mutually dependent function of aly and a novel meiotic arrest gene cookie monster Development 130, 563-573.