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J Insect Physiol. 1997 Jun;43(6):501-512.

The effects of reproduction on longevity and fertility in male Drosophila melanogaster.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Wolfson House, University College London, 4 Stephenson Way, London, U.K.


We examined the effect of reproduction on subsequent survival and fecundity of male Drosophila melanogaster by reversing the reproductive status of individuals part-way through life. Reproduction had a much more marked effect on fertility than survival: males with a history of reproduction showed complete sterility at a time when upwards of 80% of their cohort were still alive. Analyses of survival rates alone gave a misleading measure of the impact of ageing. Sterility appeared to be attributable mainly to a reduction in sperm count. Early reproduction caused permanent, irreversible damage to both survival and fecundity, with risk playing an apparently minor role. Individual differences in frailty appeared to be of little consequence for the interpretation of these reversal experiments, although its possible occurrence made definite detection of risk difficult.

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