Más Cervezas, Por Favor
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As countless throngs of spring break tourists have learned the hard way after a few cervezas in Cozumel, a cold beer on a hot day gives you more of a buzz than a cold beer on a chilly day. It’s not just perception—our humble research friend the fruit fly get drunk faster in hot weather, too. Research shows that fly populations in higher, cooler latitudes can really hold their rotten fruit, compared to their tropical cousins. High temperatures decrease the rigidity of cell membranes, and slow the activity of the primary enzyme involved in breaking down booze in the body. So, in hot weather, alcohol lingers longer, and gets you drunker. Geneticist Kristi Montooth and colleagues at Brown University compared the alcohol intake of Australian fruit flies, who prefer a balmy 80 degrees F, with a strain of Tasmanian fruit flies adapted to life at 59 degrees F. No contest. And let’s face it, Aussies do have a reputation for sudsy indulgence. Maybe they just can’t hold their liquor. Now they can blame it on the sun.