Feeds

Sex-starved fruit flies hit the sauce

Satisfaction equals sobriety

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Fruit flies that can’t get on the tail get on the sauce instead, according to a study from University of California San Francisco.

It isn’t, however, simply because their misery sends them to the shot glass asking a handy pianist to “play it, Sam”: rather, it’s related to the brain’s reward signals. In particular, it’s about the behaviour of something called neuropeptide F.

The researchers – rather cruelly, if you happen to be sensitive to what happens to fruit-flies – divided their male populations. Some were confined with females that had already mated, and therefore weren’t in the mood; others were placed in containers with receptive virgin females.

After their either successful or unsuccessful encounters, the males were offered a choice of food with and without alcohol, and the rejected males fairly binged on the souped-up soup, the researchers stated.

The lesson of rejection stayed with the unlucky males: even when given a chance at receptive females they were not as keen on mating, and were more keen on drinking.

All of this has, however, a serious point – how do the brain’s reward mechanisms lead towards addictive behaviour. The levels of neuropeptide F, the researchers say, were a strong predictor of how the males would behave.

Lead author of the Science-published study, Galit Shohat-Ophir, describes neuropeptide F as a “switch that represents the level of reward in the brain and translates it into reward-seeking behaviour”.

The behaviour of that neuropeptide, Shohat-Ophir believes, can also help manage the way that social experiences (“not interested”) might be linked to the brain’s reward mechanisms.

In the case of fruit flies, the researchers have found they can manage the tendency to drink using neuropeptide F: by activating its production, they were able to make the rejected flies act satisfied and curtail their drinking; and by suppressing it, sexually satisfied flies would behave as if they were deprived and drink more.

Humans’ equivalent, neuropeptide Y, would be harder to manipulate safely, though: it’s also involved in a large number of human activities, including eating, anxiety and sleep. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.