Sex-Deprived Male Fruit Flies Turn to Alcohol: Study

Power of rejection transforms fruit flies into barflies

By Natalie Musumeci
|  Friday, Mar 16, 2012  |  Updated 9:41 AM EDT
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Sex-Deprived Male Fruit Flies Turn to Alcohol: Study

Getty Images/Photolibrary RM

The fruit fly, drosophila melanogaster, isn't so different from the rest of us.

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Male fruit flies turned to alcohol and hit the bottle hard from being repeatedly deprived of sex by females, according to a new study.

Fruit flies apparently dealt with their frustrations and defeats in much the same way that humans do, researchers reported in the journal Science.

“I think it’s a pretty good bet that it will translate to humans,” Ulrike Heberlein of the University of California, head of the research team, told The Associated Press. If that is true, “one can say we could now understand why a negative experience, such as sexual rejection, could drive somebody to drink.”

In the study, thousands of aroused male fruit flies were essentially teased when they were placed into a glass tube for three-hour long sessions, for four consecutive days, with females who were by no means interested in giving it up, according to the AP.

After enough rejection, the sex-deprived male flies consistently preferred food spiked with alcohol more than the male flies that were able to fulfill their sexual desire and mate.

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