In the quest to learn more about how sugar intake may be correlated to the country's ongoing obesity epidemic, University of Michigan Professor Monica Dus is at the research forefront, working to find out exactly how our brains respond to sugar and, in turn, control our eating patterns.
To do so, she studies fruit flies—"We can't really use humans—and that's because biology is infinitely complex and we can't really do much just by studying ourselves," she said at a talk earlier this year.
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By examining behavior in a simpler animal, such as the fruit fly, scientists can learn about the underlying laws of biology and nature—in fact, they've found that the same genes that make humans more susceptible to addiction to substances such as drugs and alcohol are also found in flies. Plus, fruit flies like to eat what we eat (which is why they're always in your kitchen), so they're an especially good subject for food testing.