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NetSnake
18th September 2006, 03:50
http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2006/915/2



Hot Flies, Good Times

By Laura Blackburn
ScienceNOW Daily News
15 September 2006

If you've ever wondered why the same pint of beer makes you feel slightly more buzzed in the summer than it does in the winter, scientists may finally have your answer. Work with drunk fruit flies suggests that the same molecular mechanisms that help control the body's response to temperature are also involved in alcohol tolerance.
Just like in humans, too much alcohol has a toxic effect on a fly. Once imbibed, alcohol--ethanol, actually--makes its way to cell membranes, for example in the nervous system, where it increases their fluidity, much like milk makes cereal soggy. This somehow disrupts the cell's function, translating into what we feel as an alcohol buzz.

A cell's membrane fluidity also depends on temperature, becoming more solid as it cools. To keep things from getting too rigid, the cell cranks up its production of fatty acids, which squeeze into the membrane and loosen it up. Because these fatty acids are regulated by proteins that are also involved in ethanol detoxification, evolutionary geneticist Kristi Montooth of Brown University came up with an idea: The regulatory proteins activated during cold weather might help flies better cope with ethanol.

The team tested the hypothesis on two groups of flies: one from tropical North Australia, raised in temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius, and another from temperate Tasmania, raised at 15 degrees Celsius. When the Tasmanian flies basked in 26-degree climes, their alcohol tolerance--the percentage of ethanol in solution needed to kill half of them within 48 hours--dropped from 13.2% ethanol to 8.8% ethanol. Meanwhile, moving the Australian flies to a chillier 15-degree environment boosted their alcohol tolerance from 12.3% to 15.2%.
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Drinkers Cup:
Casts iceball lvl 0.1 on your head
AC +1
Special Attributes: clear vision, remove intoxication
:)

Brian Ellis
18th September 2006, 04:05
And I suppose taxpayers' money funds this "research" :(

Furthermore, a fruit fly's metabolism is very slightly (!) different from that of a human's. I object to the use of the word "scientist" in the first paragraph. The correcr word is "dabbler". No scientist would dare extrapolate what they found in invertebrates to humans.

NetSnake
18th September 2006, 05:09
And I suppose taxpayers' money funds this "research" :(

no prob with me :)


No scientist would dare extrapolate what they found in invertebrates to humans.

Scientists do that ALL the time. Many advances (in just about everything having to do with bio sciences) are because someone extrapolated a mechanism existing in a lower organism (even worms) to the human orthologue proteins/networks.

Also, notice the word "may" in the first paragraph. Using that word is another thing scientists often do :P

Fat Tone
18th September 2006, 05:55
Does that explain why I notice a sharp increase in body temperature when I have a drink?

I suppose it may.

Dr Mordrid
18th September 2006, 07:02
And I suppose taxpayers' money funds this "research" :(

Furthermore, a fruit fly's metabolism is very slightly (!) different from that of a human's. I object to the use of the word "scientist" in the first paragraph. The correcr word is "dabbler". No scientist would dare extrapolate what they found in invertebrates to humans.
Bioresearchers use mouse & fruit fly analogs all the time. DNA strands, proteins, cell wall channels etc. frequently work the same in them as they do in humans or dogs. All that really changes is the form, hence the ability to implant human genes etc. in critters.

TnT
19th September 2006, 00:10
And I suppose taxpayers' money funds this "research" :(

Furthermore, a fruit fly's metabolism is very slightly (!) different from that of a human's. I object to the use of the word "scientist" in the first paragraph. The correcr word is "dabbler". No scientist would dare extrapolate what they found in invertebrates to humans.

Gotta start small. I don't think we can take Northern Australians and Tasmanian natives and kill half of them with alcohol as an experiment. Although maybe some people would volunteer.

NetSnake
19th September 2006, 00:46
I think that this particular experiment, the way it is described, cannot be performed (illegal-unethical) on any kind of mammal...