Humanities Faculty Articles & Other Works

Title

Guarding the Fox House

Document Type

Article

Published In

Slate

Publication Date

3-13-2012

Abstract

The battered Volga bounces us along the buckled roads, frozen and thawed over long Siberian winters. With me in the van are geneticist Lyudmila Trut and her assistant Anastāsiya Kharlamova, whom I met earlier that morning at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Siberia. Now in her 70s, Trut, a petite woman in a blue pinstripe jacket and light gray pants, peers through thick glasses, trying to read a scientific paper as we drive. A few minutes later, the driver stops at the dented metal gate to the experimental farm, and Trut leads the way down dilapidated rows of narrow barracks-style sheds, morning glories sprouting from cracks in the paved walkways. The farm houses 3,000 foxes, each open-air wooden shed holding 100 or so animals in adjacent wire cages. The three of us put on white lab coats and prepare to greet the foxes.