No Sex? Male Fruit Flies Turn to Booze

They get their 'reward' from alcohol instead: Study
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2012 4:33 PM CDT
Rejected Male Fruit Flies Turn to Booze
In this undated image provided by the University of California San Francisco, a male fruit fly drinks alcohol-laced food from from a tube.   (AP Photo/University of California, San Francisco, G. Ophir)

Entomology as country song: Researchers say male fruit flies denied sex drown their sorrows in alcohol, reports the BBC. Or more precisely, boy flies who get some action turn up their noses at food dosed with alcohol, while boys who get rejected are far more likely to indulge. Researchers think it's because the booze triggers a "reward" chemical in the brain to compensate for the "reward" they would have gotten through sex. Yes, humans have a similar chemical.

How did they find this out? The scientists put some male fruit flies in a box with females who might only be called Rush Limbaugh's favorite descriptor. Things happened. Others went in boxes with females who had already mated and had no interest in doing so again. Then they gave each set of males a choice of normal food or spiked food, and the more-frustrated flies kept the bar open all night. The study appears in Science. (Read more fruit flies stories.)

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