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Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 14 July 2004
Vol. 2004, Issue 28, p. pe30
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2004.28.pe30]


Sex-Specific Effects of Interventions That Extend Fly Life Span

Joep M. S. Burger, and Daniel E. L. Promislow

The authors are in the Department of Genetics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7223, USA. E-mail: jmburger{at} (J.M.S.B)

Key Words: gender • sex-specific mortality • longevity assurance genes

Abstract: Genetic and environmental interventions that extend life span are a current focus in research on the biology of aging. Most of this work has focused on differences among genotypes and species. A recent study on fruit flies shows that life span extension because of dietary restriction can be highly sex-specific. Here we review the literature on sex-specific effects of 56 genetic and 41 environmental interventions that extend life span in Drosophila melanogaster. We found that only one-sixth of the experiments provided statistical tests of differences in response between males and females, suggesting that sex-specific effects have been largely ignored. When measured, the life span extension was female-biased in 8 of 16 cases, male-biased in 5 of 16 cases, and not significantly different in only 3 of 16 cases. We discuss possible explanations for the sex-specific differences and suggest various ways in which we might test these hypotheses. We argue that understanding sex differences in the response to life span-extending manipulations should lead to new insights about the basic mechanisms that underlie the biology of aging in both sexes.

Citation: J. M. S. Burger, D. E. L. Promislow, Sex-Specific Effects of Interventions That Extend Fly Life Span. Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ. 2004 (28), pe30 (2004).

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