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Dev Genet. 1991;12(5):362-70.

Elevated paraquat resistance can be used as a bioassay for longevity in a genetically based long-lived strain of Drosophila.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48202.


A long-lived (L) strain of Drosophila melanogaster, derived from a normal-lived (R) strain by artificial selection, has a significantly different adult longevity. Previous work has shown that 1) the two strains age in the same manner, 2) the major genes responsible for much of the L strain's extended longevity are located on the 3rd chromosome, and 3) the extended longevity phenotype is significantly modulated by the larval environment. In this report, we investigate the resistance of the L and R strains to the lethal effects of dietary paraquat. We show that, within the limitations of our described chromosomal and environmental manipulations, the extended longevity phenotype always accompanies the phenotype of elevated paraquat resistance. In addition, reversed selection applied to the L strain results in the simultaneous decrease of both life span and paraquat resistance. Thus, the presence or absence of the latter phenotype may be used as a bioassay for the presence or absence of the extended longevity phenotype, without any necessary implication of causality. Use of this bioassay should greatly speed up the genetic analysis of this system by allowing us to identify long-lived animals at a young age. Finally, we show that the age-related loss of elevated paraquat resistance in both strains precedes all the other age-related functional decrements which we have previously noted in this system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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