Video: Spurned Fruit Flies Turn to Alcohol for Solace

Don’t laugh. And don’t roll your eyes, either–because this research could lead to new approaches to treating addiction.

When male fruit flies are rejected by their female fruit fly paramours, they turn to the bottle–or in this case the straw–that serves up food laced with alcohol.  Just watch the video–kindly provided by Science/AAAS:

This new research is from U.C. San Francisco, and the science lies in a tiny molecule in the fly’s brain called neuropeptide F. Researchers paired fruit flies, the moved the males to a separate container where they could choose from one of two straws: one that was just plain old fly food; and one that had food supplemented with alcohol.

Researchers found the fruit flies who successfully mated had higher levels of neuropeptide F in their brains and so drank little alcohol. But the jilted male fruit flies? They went straight for the booze.

Humans have a similar molecule called neuropeptide Y. Scientists have already found a connection between lower levels of this neuropeptide in people suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. But figuring out how to alter those levels is tricky and could take years.

But in the meantime, the video is pretty entertaining!

Learn More:

Learning From the Spurned and Tipsy Fruit Fly (New York Times)

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  • Jane Adams

    Whoa!