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Genetics. 2006 Jul;173(3):1455-63. Epub 2006 May 15.

High-resolution mapping of quantitative trait loci affecting increased life span in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Genetics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA.


Limited life span and senescence are near-universal characteristics of eukaryotic organisms, controlled by many interacting quantitative trait loci (QTL) with individually small effects, whose expression is sensitive to the environment. Analyses of mutations in model organisms have shown that genes affecting stress resistance and metabolism affect life span across diverse taxa. However, there is considerable segregating variation for life span in nature, and relatively little is known about the genetic basis of this variation. Replicated lines of Drosophila that have evolved increased longevity as a correlated response to selection for postponed senescence are valuable resources for identifying QTL affecting naturally occurring variation in life span. Here, we used deficiency complementation mapping to identify at least 11 QTL on chromosome 3 that affect variation in life span between five old (O) lines selected for postponed senescence and their five base (B) population control lines. Most QTL were sex specific, and all but one affected multiple O lines. The latter observation is consistent with alleles at intermediate frequency in the base population contributing to the response to selection for postponed senescence. The QTL were mapped with high resolution and contained from 12 to 170 positional candidate genes.

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