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Male fruit flies enjoy ejaculation

A probe of the brain’s reward system looks at Drosophila sex (or lack thereof) and drinking

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12:00pm, April 19, 2018
fruit fly

RED-LIGHT DISTRICT  Levels of a brain reward compound increased in male fruit flies genetically engineered to ejaculate when exposed to red light when the insects were bathed in the rosy hue.

Moody red lighting in a lab is helping researchers figure out what fruit flies like best about sex.

The question has arisen as scientists try to tease out the neurobiological steps in how the brain’s natural reward system can get hijacked in alcoholism, says neuroscientist Galit Shohat-Ophir of Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel.

Male fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) were genetically engineered to ejaculate when exposed to a red light. Ejaculation increased signs in the insects’ brains of a rewarding experience and decreased the lure of alcohol, researchers found. After several days in this red-light district, the flies tended to prefer a plain sugary beverage over one spiked with ethanol. Males not exposed to the red light went for the boozier drink, Shohat-Ophir and colleagues report April 19 in Current Biology.

Earlier lab research has shown

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