The common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is a model organism heavily studied in genetics. Its short life cycle and generation times make it a particularly useful model for genetic studies in longevity. After the genome of Drosophila melanogaster was sequenced in 2001 it has been possible for scientists to identify individual genes and alter them. With as many as 60% of their genes shared with homologous genes in humans1, and almost 75% of disease-causing genes2, studies in the longevity of Drosophila melanogaster have potential implications for human aging.
|Drosophila melanogaster - SEM (SciencePhotoLibrary)|
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, collaborating with stem cell researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (SIBS) have found a way to slow aging in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster by altering the fly’s version of the gene PGC-1. The 2011 study, Modulation of Longevity and Tissue Homeostasis by the Drosophila PGC-1 Homolog, found that aging could be slowed by up to 50 percent by increasing the activity of the gene in the stem cells of the fruit fly’s intestine; said by the lead scientist of SIBS, Leanne Jones, to have a high degree of similarity to a human’s small intestine3. PGC-1, a homologous gene found in humans and all mammals, known as dPGC-1 in Drosophila fruit flies, regulates energy metabolism such as mitochondrial energy.
Fruit fly intestine may hold secret to the fountain of youth 2011, viewed 18 March 2012, <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111109093945.htm >
Rera, M et al. 2011, ‘Modulation of Longevity and Tissue Homeostasis by the Drosophila PGC-1 Homolog’, Cell Metabolism 14, viewed 16 March, 2012, <http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/abstract/S1550-4131(11)00388-3>*
1 National Human Genome Research Project 2002, Background on Comparative Genomic Analysis, viewed 18 March 2012, <http://www.genome.gov/10005835>
2 Reiter LT et al. 2001, ‘A Systematic Analysis of Human Disease-Associated Gene Sequences In Drosophila melanogaster’, Genome Res., volume 11, viewed 19 March, 2012, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC311089/>
3 Fruit Fly Intestine May Hold Secret to Fountain of Youth: Long-Lived Fruit Flies Offer Clues to Slowing Human Aging and Fighting Disease 2011, viewed 18 March 2012, <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111102161156.htm>
4 Rera, M et al. 2011, ‘Modulation of Longevity and Tissue Homeostasis by the Drosophila PGC-1 Homolog’, Cell Metabolism, volume 14, p. 625, viewed 16 March, 2012, <http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/abstract/S1550-4131(11)00388-3>
Brodie Foster - 42848387