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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2003 Dec;95(6):2605-13; discussion 2604. Epub 2003 Aug 29.

Selected contribution: long-lived Drosophila melanogaster lines exhibit normal metabolic rates.

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  • 1Molecular Biology Program, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001, USA.


The use of model organisms, such as Drosophila melanogaster, provides a powerful method for studying mechanisms of aging. Here we report on a large set of recombinant inbred (RI) D. melanogaster lines that exhibit approximately a fivefold range of average adult longevities. Understanding the factors responsible for the differences in longevity, particularly the characteristics of the longest-lived lines, can provide fundamental insights into the mechanistic correlates of aging. In ectothermic organisms, longevity is often inversely correlated with metabolic rate, suggesting the a priori hypothesis that long-lived lines will have low resting metabolic rates. We conducted approximately 6000 measurements of CO2 production in individual male flies aged 5, 16, 29, and 47 days postemergence and simultaneously measured the weight of individual flies and life spans in populations of each line. Even though there was a wide range of longevities, there was no evidence of an inverse relationship between the variables. The increased longevity of long-lived lines is not mediated through reduction of metabolic activity. In Drosophila, it is possible to both maintain a normal metabolic rate and achieve long life. These results are evaluated in the context of 100 years of research on the relationship between metabolic rate and life span.

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