1 Tahrcountry Musings: Sex and the fruit fly

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sex and the fruit fly

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I was fascinated to read this report about Male fruit flies that have been rejected by females drinking significantly more alcohol. The authors of this report says the brain’s reward systems reinforce behaviours required for species survival, including sex, food consumption, and social interaction. Drugs of abuse co-opt these neural pathways, which can lead to addiction.

The researchers used Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the relationship between natural and drug rewards. The researchers think alcohol stimulates the flies' brains as a "reward" akin to sexual conquest.

In males, mating increased, whereas sexual deprivation reduced, neuropeptide F (NPF) levels. Activation or inhibition of the NPF system in turn reduced or enhanced ethanol preference. According to the researcher NPF levels are some kind of 'molecular signature' to the experience.

 Journal reference

Sexual Deprivation Increases Ethanol Intake in Drosophila

G. Shohat-Ophir1,2,, K. R. Kaun, R. Azanchi, U. Heberlein

Science 16 March 2012: ,Vol. 335 no. 6074 pp. 1351-1355

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