Behavioral, physical, and demographic changes in Drosophila populations through dietary restriction

Aging Cell. 2005 Dec;4(6):309-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2005.00181.x.


Dietary restriction (DR) is a valuable experimental tool for studying the aging process. Primary advancement of research in this area has relied on rodent models, but attention has recently turned toward Drosophila melanogaster. However, little is known about the baseline effects of DR on wild-type Drosophila and continued experimentation requires such information. The findings described here survey the effects of DR on inbred, wild-type populations of Canton-S fruit flies and demonstrate a robust effect of diet on longevity. Over a circumscribed range of dietary conditions, healthy lifespan varies by as much as 121% for wild-type Drosophila females. Significant differences are also observed for male flies, but the magnitude of the DR effect is less robust. Mortality analyses of the survivorship data reveal that this variation in lifespan can be attributed to a modulation of the rate parameter for the mortality function - a change in the demographic rate of aging. Since the feeding of fruit flies is less easily controlled than that of rodents, this research also addresses the validity of applying a DR model to Drosophila populations. Feeding and body weight data for flies given the various dietary conditions surveyed indicate that Drosophila on higher-calorie diets consume a similar volume of food to those on a low-calorie diet, resulting in different levels of calorie intake. Fertility and activity levels demonstrate that the diets surveyed are comparable, and that increasing the calorie content of laboratory food up to twice the normal concentration is not pathologic for experimental fly populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Body Weight
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / anatomy & histology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Longevity / physiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Animal
  • Mortality
  • Reproduction
  • Sex Factors