Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Drunken Fruit Flies Help Scientists Find Potential Drug Target For Alcoholism

Date:
November 7, 2009
Source:
Genetics Society of America
Summary:
Drunken fruit flies have helped researchers identify networks of genes -- also present in humans -- that play a key role in alcohol drinking behavior. This discovery provides an indication of why some people seem to tolerate alcohol better than others, and points toward a potential target for drugs aimed at preventing or eliminating alcoholism.

Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) breeding in a test tube.
Credit: iStockphoto/Joe Pogliano

A group of drunken fruit flies have helped researchers from North Carolina State and Boston universities identify entire networks of genes -- also present in humans -- that play a key role in alcohol drinking behavior.

Related Articles


This discovery, published in the October 2009 print issue of the journal Genetics, provides a crucial explanation of why some people seem to tolerate alcohol better than others, as well as a potential target for drugs aimed at preventing or eliminating alcoholism. In addition, this discovery sheds new light on many of the negative side effects of drinking, such as liver damage.

"Translational studies, like this one, in which discoveries from model organisms can be applied to insights in human biology, can make us understand the balance between nature and nurture, why we behave the way we do, for better or worse, and what makes us tick," said Robert Anholt, a Professor of Biology and Genetics at North Carolina State University, Director of the W. M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, and one of the senior scientists involved in the work.

To make this discovery, Anholt and colleagues first measured the amount of time it took for the fruit flies to lose postural control after exposure to alcohol. At the same time, changes in the expression of all the flies' genes were recorded. Using statistical methods to identify genes that work together, the scientists were able to pinpoint specific genes that played a crucial role in adaptation relating to alcohol exposure. Armed with this information about fruit flies, the scientists set out to determine if the same genes contribute to alcohol drinking habits in humans. Indeed they do: expression of the human counterpart of a critical gene in fruit flies could be directly tied to alcohol consumption in humans.

"From a scientific point-of-view, research like this is almost intoxicating," said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Genetics. "We've known for a while now that genetics played a role in alcohol consumption, but now, we actually know some of the genes that are involved. As a result of this work, we have a potential drug target for curing this insidious condition."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Genetics Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tatiana V. Morozova, Julien F. Ayroles, Katherine W. Jordan, Laura H. Duncan, Mary Anna Carbone, Richard F. Lyman, Eric A. Stone, Diddahally R. Govindaraju, R. Curtis Ellison, Trudy F. C. Mackay, and Robert R. H. Anholt. Alcohol Sensitivity in Drosophila: Translational Potential of Systems Genetics. Genetics, 2009; 183 (2): 733 DOI: 10.1534/genetics.109.107490

Cite This Page:

Genetics Society of America. "Drunken Fruit Flies Help Scientists Find Potential Drug Target For Alcoholism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091103121618.htm>.
Genetics Society of America. (2009, November 7). Drunken Fruit Flies Help Scientists Find Potential Drug Target For Alcoholism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091103121618.htm
Genetics Society of America. "Drunken Fruit Flies Help Scientists Find Potential Drug Target For Alcoholism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091103121618.htm (accessed February 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, February 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Scientists in Austria have been able to fit patients who&apos;ve lost the use of a hand with bionic prostheses the patients control with their minds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins