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A. An Intoxicating Fruit Fly Study

Narrator: This is Science Today. How does a fruit fly hold it's liquor? Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that depends on their genetic make-up - a link long suspected in humans. This intoxicating study, led by Ulrike Heberlain, found removing a certain gene in fruit flies caused them to behave like over imbibing humans.

Heberlain: They became hyperactive and uncoordinated and disorientated and gradually, they just sort of become sedated - they fall over and pass out. And if you expose them to alcohol multiple times, it takes more and more alcohol before they start showing these behaviors. That's certainly similar to humans.

Narrator: The gene removed was amnesiac, which regulates a molecular pathway called cyclic AMP.

Heberlain: It had been known for many years that the cyclic AMP pathway is sensitive to alcohol. And while amnesiac itself has not been identified in humans, those molecules that carry out all of the other steps of the pathway have been identified in humans.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.