Rejected fruit flies drown misery with booze | Science updates | -- Your State. Your News.

Jul 05th
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Rejected fruit flies drown misery with booze

fruitFly_031812_optBY BOB HOLT

The latest in social interaction research experiments has actually been going on since the beginning of time, but scientists at the University of California have confirmed its results with fruit flies.

Experiments have shown that fruit flies that have been consistently rejected sexually are more prone to turn to alcohol. reported that some male fruit flies were given four days of mating for six-hour sessions with sexually consenting female fruit flies.

Another group was introduced to female flies that had already mated, and apparently had headaches. The females ran away, kicked and stuck out their egg-laying organ to keep the males away. The males kept trying three times a day, for an hour at a time, over four days.

The flies were later given choices of yeast and sugar or food with 15 percent alcohol. The sexually rejected flies required an intervention, and hit the alcohol much harder than those that mated.

"The mated males actually have an aversion to the alcohol-containing food," research leader Galit Shohat-Ophir said, according to ScienceNOW. "And the rejected males have a high preference to that food with alcohol." The males who had been rejected drank four times more alcohol than the ones who mated, her research reported.

But when the flies that had been rejected at first later got a chance to mate, they lost their desire for alcohol.

Fox News reported that lower levels of a chemical in the brain of the rejected fruit flies known as neuropeptide F, or NPF, caused the flies’ alcohol dependency. A similar chemical in human brains is called NPY, or neuropeptide Y, which researchers believe is related to reward-related behaviors such as overeating. NPY has also been linked to higher levels of alcohol consumption.

"Our results certainly don't translate directly from flies to humans," Shohat-Ophir said to ScienceNOW, "but it brings up questions and suggests future studies."


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