Measuring Alcohol Preference in Fruit Flies

How can you measure consumption in an animal as small as a fly? This has been a challenging problem to address due to the small meal size of Drosophila melanogaster. We tackle this problem by using small oligonucleotides that we can put in fly food, let the flies feed, and later assay the amount of food consumed by meausring the levels of oligonucleotides detected through qPCR to determine how much food substrate is consumed. 

Using this technique we characterized a novel sexually dimorphic alcohol preference. Male flies dislike alcohol whereas female flies prefer it.