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Flying High

Consider the fruit fly. A model organism for the study of genetics, physiology, and evolution, fruit flies also tell us a lot about our relationship to alcohol. It’s not just that fruit flies—like hundreds of other animals from elephants to ourselves–appreciate the gentle buzz of intoxication. “Smart” fruit flies also gauge their consumption. Moderate-drinking flies, for example, live longer and have more offspring than abstainers or besotted indulgers. Alas, male fruit flies who have been spurned by a potential mate, tend to drown their sorrows by drinking more alcohol than they should. At least until a new lady shows up.

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