fruitflies

Why fruitflies know their beer

Competing neuronal pathways help adults to choose locations with just the right amount of alcohol for their offspring to thrive.

Fruitflies know exactly how much alcohol will be good for their young. Larvae living on a food source with the right concentration of ethanol will grow into heavy, healthy adults and will be protected against parasites — which explains why the insects are attracted to rotting fruit or the crate of empty beer bottles in your kitchen but not to the vodka or gin.

Now researchers have uncovered the neural mechanism that allows the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster to choose the best place to lay its eggs. Read more in Nature.