Reproductive adaptation in Drosophila exposed to oxygen-enriched atmospheres

Aviat Space Environ Med. 1979 Apr;50(4):368-71.


Ten successive generations of a Drosophila melanogaster population were exposed to an atmospheric mix of 50% oxygen/50% nitrogen at standard pressure. This atmospheric mix has been shown to be toxic to this species and causes significantly shortened life span. By the fifth generation, survivorship and life span for the first 25-30 days were identical to control populations and total life span was shorter by only a few days. Egg-laying rates were stable in the experimental populations but below those of the controls. Hatching success was identical between experimental and control populations. Even though the egg-laying rates were lower in 50% oxygen, it was concluded that the population had adapted and could maintain a stable population in these conditions. The near-normal life spans, normal hatching rates, and overall population stability, exhibited following five generations of adaptation, were considered sufficient to allow continued reproduction in spite of a reduced egg-laying rate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Biological*
  • Animals
  • Atmosphere*
  • Atmospheric Pressure*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Nitrogen
  • Oxygen*
  • Reproduction
  • Space Flight


  • Nitrogen
  • Oxygen