Drunk flies have gay sex!

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    Jan 13, 2008 3:12 AM GMT
    I'm a biologist and a couple people have asked me to post some articles from "scholarly journals" that might be of interest (or otherwise amusing). I was perusing Pubmed (free online collection of science articles) for one of my favorite genes (it's called fruity or fruitless) and came across this article on alcohol exposure and mating behavior of fruitflies. I've copied the abstract below.


    Recurring ethanol exposure induces disinhibited courtship in Drosophila.
    Lee HG, Kim YC, Dunning JS, Han KA.

    Alcohol has a strong causal relationship with sexual arousal and disinhibited sexual behavior in humans; however, the physiological support for this notion is largely lacking and thus a suitable animal model to address this issue is instrumental. We investigated the effect of ethanol on sexual behavior in Drosophila. Wild-type males typically court females but not males; however, upon daily administration of ethanol, they exhibited active intermale courtship, which represents a novel type of behavioral disinhibition. The ethanol-treated males also developed behavioral sensitization, a form of plasticity associated with addiction, since their intermale courtship activity was progressively increased with additional ethanol experience. We identified three components crucial for the ethanol-induced courtship disinhibition: the transcription factor regulating male sex behavior Fruitless, the ABC guanine/tryptophan transporter White and the neuromodulator dopamine. fruitless mutant males normally display conspicuous intermale courtship; however, their courtship activity was not enhanced under ethanol. Likewise, white males showed negligible ethanol-induced intermale courtship, which was not only reinstated but also augmented by transgenic White expression. Moreover, inhibition of dopamine neurotransmission during ethanol exposure dramatically decreased ethanol-induced intermale courtship. Chronic ethanol exposure also affected a male's sexual behavior toward females: it enhanced sexual arousal but reduced sexual performance. These findings provide novel insights into the physiological effects of ethanol on sexual behavior and behavioral plasticity.
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    Jan 13, 2008 4:57 AM GMT
    This must be some novel usage of the word "novel" with which I was not previously familiar.
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    Jan 13, 2008 5:07 AM GMT
    Thats rather interesting, I plan on going into research once I complete my Nursing degree.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jan 13, 2008 11:37 AM GMT
    Hehe...and I just thought it happened with drunk High School friends

    You can take the boy away from nature but you can't take nature outta the boy icon_smile.gif
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    Jan 13, 2008 1:07 PM GMT
    I heard this on the radio in conjunction with another recent drosophilia 'gay gene' study which, since I didn't remember the authors, I can't quote here.

    So all I can say is the knowing and insightful "cool".

    I know I was gay before I drank. Of course the idea of converting straights with alcohol will no doubt become the new challenge.

    I've got it:
    "Gay for Mount Gay"
    a new reality drinking show on Bravo.
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    Jan 13, 2008 10:17 PM GMT
    mindgarden saidThis must be some novel usage of the word "novel" with which I was not previously familiar.


    Biologists love to use the word novel (which they use to mean new or unexpected). They think that if they put it in the title or abstract, they might be able to publish in a better journal. Technically everything published is supposed to be novel. (Why would you bother publishing something that isn't.)
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    Feb 14, 2010 12:13 AM GMT
    Very interesting stuff!
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    Feb 14, 2010 12:21 AM GMT
    poor lil repressed things icon_rolleyes.gif