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Sex-Deprived Fly Drowns Its Sorrow in Booze

Rejection hurt, even for the lowly fly. Researchers discovered that sex-deprived fruit flies will drown their sorrows in booze:

To see how sex impacts fly drinking, the researchers placed virgin male flies in a dish with either virgin females or with already-mated females, which unlike the virgins will reject the males.

The male flies were paired up three times a day for four days before they were given the opportunity to booze it up: They were offered regular food and food with 15 percent alcohol. Mated flies drank almost no alcohol, preferring the booze-free food, while rejected flies drank twice their body weight's worth. Virgin males that had never been paired up with a female in the lab were somewhere in the middle: moderate drinkers.

"From the experiments we've done, our hypothesis is that it [alcohol] affects the fly's brain in a way similar to how it affects ours," Shohat-Ophir said.


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