The story is a little dippy at points...
Dickson said a fly's flight gene, if one exists, obviously can't be used to make a mouse fly.
... still, it's interesting news. I'm surprised that the first thing you think of is altering sexual orientation - I think that there are still many who are surprised that the brain's sexual identity can be determined separately from that of the overall body, and so this must be news to them.
The original identification of mutants of this gene "fruitless" (The story goes that the original name proposed was fruity
, but some censorious magazine editor demanded that it be given a less 'offensive' monikor) produced similarly dramatic results, in which long lines of male flies lined up atop one another in courtship; this experiment just extends the observation by showing that by producing it where it's not normally present it creates the opposite conversion. It's still very interesting that the gene should regulate both
the approach of males/females to females and
the acceptance by males of males landing atop them. It's as if the fly truly has the opposite sexual orientation, rather than mindlessly enacting a certain ritual as generally described.
In any case, the gene's purpose is likely developmental - it affects how the brain develops, and it's unlikely that you could flip flies' sexuality like a switch by changing the gene in an adult.