exposure to ethanol. Unusual tolerance to intoxication in flies may be particularly important, since Marc Schuckit has shown that resistance to intoxicating effects of alcohol may be linked to genetic alcoholism and the development of alcoholism 10 years later.
Think of the potential of this strategy: not only is it possible to identify genes that mediate normal and abnormal CNS responses to ethanol, it will be possible to test candidate genes in Drosophila derived from other systems to determine whether they contribute to ethanol-induced changes in neural function. In addition, genes identified in Drosophila can be used to identify genes in human beings. Perhaps those genes play a major role in mediating ethanol responses in alcoholics. Finally, genes that mediate and modify ethanol responses may be candidate genes for genetic alcoholism. The great advantage of Drosophila is that it is possible to move rapidly back and forth from complex behaviors to genes of importance. This is not easily done with mice, rats, or human beings.