Part of the show How We Hear, Echolocation and Giant Whoopee Cushions
Researchers in the US have been studying tipsy fruit flies to try and understand what happens to our genes when we go out on the beers. Humans and fruit flies respond to alcohol in very similar ways, so researchers at North Carolina State University decided to study the way that fruit fly genes get switched on and off when the flies are exposed to booze. They found that nearly 600 genes get switched on or off when the flies are given alcohol, and many of these are genes that are also found in humans. They also found another set of genes that are affected when the flies become tolerant to alcohol. So this could help to explain why some humans are more or less susceptible to a night on the beers, and whether some people may be genetically pre-disposed to alcoholism.