Effects of telomere length in Drosophila melanogaster on life span, fecundity, and fertility

Chromosoma. 2007 Feb;116(1):41-51. doi: 10.1007/s00412-006-0081-5. Epub 2006 Nov 7.


Chromosome length in Drosophila is maintained by targeted transposition of three non-long terminal repeat retrotransposons, HeT-A, TART, and TAHRE, to the chromosome ends. The length and composition of these retrotransposon arrays can vary significantly between chromosome tips and between fly stocks, but the significance and consequences of these length differences are not understood. A dominant genetic factor, Tel, has been described, which causes a severalfold elongation of the retrotransposon arrays at all telomeres. We used this strain to assess possible affects of extended telomeres on the organism. While we found no effect on life span of the adults, we could demonstrate a correlation between long telomeres and reduced fertility and fecundity in individual females, which is also reflected in abnormal oocyte development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / genetics
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fertility / genetics*
  • Longevity / genetics*
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Ovary / growth & development
  • Ovary / pathology
  • Retroelements / genetics
  • Telomere / genetics*


  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Retroelements
  • heterochromatin-specific nonhistone chromosomal protein HP-1