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Big Gay Drunk Flies

Big Gay Drunk Flies

By Jodi Young

We all know that getting drunk lowers our inhibitions, but the surprising results of experiments with fruit flies may give lager louts pause for thought. Male flies propping up the bar at the "Flypub" start batting for the other team.

A group from Pennsylvania State University has shown that male fruit flies, when exposed repeatedly to ethanol, start to exhibit homosexual courtship activities. Kyung-An Han and colleagues got flies high on ethanol fumes inside a transparent chamber nicknamed the “Flypub” and filmed them to study their sexual behaviour.

They found that daily doses of ethanol caused male fruit flies to demonstrate intermale courtship. The flies also became more sensitive to the treatment over the course of the experiment, with intermale activities increasing progressively. Not surprisingly, excessive exposure to alcohol also affected males' behaviour towards females, increasing sexual arousal but resulting in poor performances. The researchers have identified three different regions of the fly genome that they think might be responsible.

The research, published in PLoS One, provides some novel insights on sexual behaviour and, hopefully, on the effects of alcohol. It may also make guys think twice before heading to the pub to pick up girls.

Other stuff you might think about doing after a few pints:

- Singing - Rocking up at the Geek Pop '08 music festival
- Falling over - Drinkers take a tumble - you don't say?
- Eating pizza - Make it an anti-ageing primula, with extra cheese
- Yawning - Yawning might actually keep you awake

Image: Michael LaFramboise

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28 Jul 2009
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