Aging mechanisms in fruit files

Bioessays. 1996 Oct;18(10):799-807. doi: 10.1002/bies.950181006.


Genetic analysis of Drosophila has provided evidence in support of two proposed evolutionary genetic mechanisms of aging: mutation accumulation and antagonistic pleiotropy. Both mechanisms result from the lack of natural selection acting on old organisms. Analyses of large numbers of files have revealed that mortality rates do not continue to rise with age as previously thought, but plateau at advanced ages. This phenomenon has implications both for models and for definitions of aging, and may be explained by the evolutionary theories. The physiological processes and genes most relevant to aging are being identified using Drosophila lines selected in the laboratory for postponed senescence. Oxidative stress and insufficient metabolic reserves/capacity may be particularly important factors in limiting the fruitfly lifespan. Genes which exhibit aging-related changes in expression are now being identified. Transgenic files are being used to analyze the mechanisms of such aging-related gene expression, and to test the effects of specific genes on aging and aging-related deterioration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics*
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genes, Insect
  • Male
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutation
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Superoxide Dismutase