Genes, Culture, and Aging Flies--What the Lab Can and Cannot Tell Us About Natural Genetic Variation for Senescence

Sci Aging Knowledge Environ. 2002 May 22;2002(20):pe6. doi: 10.1126/sageke.2002.20.pe6.


Model organisms cultured in the lab provide a powerful way to explore basic biological processes. However, lab culture can select for high early fecundity and dramatically shorten the life-span of lab organisms. Studies that use these short-lived organisms to identify aging-related genes might identify genes that simply restore the organism's original life-span. These results might not be fully relevant to wild populations. Experiments that reduce selection for shorter life-span or seek genes in naturally long-lived cohorts should lead to a more accurate understanding of aging.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Fertility / genetics
  • Longevity / genetics
  • Models, Animal
  • Selection, Genetic