In 1962 someone at the Genetics Institute in Pavia, Italy, turned up the temperature in an incubator holding fruit flies. When Ferruccio Ritossa, then a young geneticist, examined the cells of these “heat shocked” flies, he noticed that their chromosomes had puffed up at discrete locations. The puffy appearance was a known sign that genes were being activated in those regions to give rise to their encoded proteins, so those sites of activity became known as the heat shock loci.