Functional senescence in Drosophila melanogaster

Ageing Res Rev. 2005 Aug;4(3):372-97. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2005.04.001.


The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is one of the principal model organisms used for studying the biology of aging. Flies are well suited for such studies for a number of reasons. Flies develop to adulthood quickly, have a relatively short life span, and are inexpensive to house. Most of the fly genome has been sequenced, powerful genetic tools are available to manipulate it, and most fly genes have obvious homologues in mammals. While the majority of aging studies in flies have focused on regulation of life span, the fly is emerging as a powerful model system for investigating the biology that underlies age-related functional decline. Key to the use of flies in this way is the striking number of parallels between functional senescence in Drosophila and humans. Here, we review age-related functional declines in Drosophila, human correlates of these age-related declines, and common mechanisms that influence longevity and specific aspects of functional senescence in flies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Longevity / physiology
  • Memory
  • Models, Animal
  • Motor Activity
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal