Flies Gay, Straight, Gay Again
Researchers find genes, drugs can flip insects' sexuality
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2007 12:22 PM CST

(Newser) – Fruit flies were gay one hour and straight the next in a recent study in which researchers used drugs to flip the switch of sexuality, reports LiveScience. When scientists disabled a gene called genderblind, male flies courted other males; they reverted to pursuing females only hours later when given a gene and drug combo that altered brain synapses.

Genetics play a major role in fruit fly sexual preference. By altering flies’ synapses, researchers changed how flies perceived scents, particularly pheromones, which are thought to have a major impact in sexuality. "Sexual orientation is supposed to be hard-wired," said one researcher. "This fundamentally changes how we think about this behavior."