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    Showing posts with label stressful lives. Show all posts

    Sex-starved fruit flies live shorter, more stressful lives

    Sexual frustration impairs the health of fruit flies and causes premature death, according to new research.

    Scientists found that male flies who were stimulated to mate but prevented from doing so, had their lives cut short by up to 40%.

    Those allowed to copulate not only lived longer but suffered less stress.

    The research is published in the Journal Science.

    In the experiment, the flies were put in close proximity to genetically modified males who had been altered to release female sex pheromones.
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        We immediately observed that they looked quite sick very soon in the presence of these effeminised males”

    Dr Scott Pletcher University of Michigan

    These hormones are used by flies to judge whether a potential mate is nearby, so when males secreted this sexually charged scent, it instantly aroused other males.

    But crucially, they were not able to mate.

    The flies that were tantalised but denied any action showed more stress, a decrease in their fat-stores and had their lives cut short dramatically.

    "We immediately observed that they looked quite sick very soon in the presence of these effeminised males," explained Dr Scott Pletcher at the University of Michigan, US, co-author of the research.

    The common fruit fly has a very short life of about 60 days. This makes them an ideal organism to study aging as the genes that regulate a fly's lifespan have been found to closely parallel those in humans.

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