Alcohol: The Cause and Solution to All of Life’s Problems

Genetics and Biotechnology

Alcohol is found in just about every social setting in our society, for good and for bad. How does alcohol affect the common fruit fly?

By: Fly Away With Me

In our genetics class and biotechnology honors, we performed an experiment with flies; we kept more than 15 vials with flies, keeping them breathing and encouraging them day by day. On the other hand, we carried out an experiment with alcohol in the food of the flies.

The first day we met our flies was very exciting but we did not know what to do or how to sedate them, how to examine their sex and how to separate them into vials. Then Mr. Beal told us all the necessary instructions for the experiment, and the manuals and also explained that we had to take things seriously since we were using very expensive materials!! We had some errors throughout our journal with fruit flies, because at the beginning of our task we did not make the food properly, and the flies died. After we learned about our error, we made new vials, and we got successful results. At the same time, we examined their sex and learned how to reproduce them also how to treat them.

When it came time for our actual experiment, we were not sure about what to do or what to use to test them. We had a lot of options but we came up with the idea of alcohol. We decided to see the effects of alcohol on the flies and how it would change their fertilization when we introduced alcohol into their food. We made many vials of both males and females, we set up the same amount for each of them.

We tested them in two different vials, some with control (water) and some with alcohol and different percentage of alcohol as well the same amount of females and males, where we waited 10 days. For this, we made a hypothesis, “If the flies consumed alcohol in their food their fertility levels would go down”. So in the first 6 vials we obtained negative results due to the number of males that we put in our vials but without changing in the other 6 vials we received clearer results in control and alcohol, even though the number of males changed. Our conclusion was concrete because we realized that flies can die from 12% alcohol in their food. In addition to the fact that at 6% of alcohol introduced into their food it does not kill them but it is difficult for them to reproduce, even though at 3% of alcohol they are more likely to live but their fertility levels are low; also consuming alcohol makes them take more time to reproduce. On the other hand, when making the vials with control (water), we realized that it takes less time to reproduce because they do not have any substance in their bodies, so the number of males that are inside the corresponding vials does not matter.

We decide to use alcohol because Alcohol is the most widely used substance in the U.S.A. and all people of any age use alcohol at some point in their lifetime; the experience with our flies is very beneficial because we can realize how alcohol affects our bodies even though drinking alcohol can lead to alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction or disorder. Any amount of alcohol can affect your body’s health and wellness, and the risk starts from the moment you take a sip.

Hey, my name is Kim! For me, it was a miracle to take this class. I never worked with fruit flies and also never do experiments like this or use materials at this label. Overall, I really enjoy taking genetics, it is very interesting, and also I am thankful for my experiences in many aspects and new skills for my future. I really learned a lot about how to use every single material in the lab, for example, microscopes, pipettes, test tubes, etc. Doing the experiments and testing our fruit flies, has definitely taught me how to do a real experiment, start the begging to the end, as well show how to collect good data, learn about our mistakes, get results, and how use different tools made me more interested in studying and researching. Taking genetics is something else.