Drosophila Models of Aging

Satomi Miwa and Alan Cohen

The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is one of the most studied organisms in a variety of biological research fields, including studies on aging. The Droso-phila model has approached aging from a range of angles and contributed significantly to our understanding of aging. It has been a valuable model organism in the field and is expected to remain so. This chapter aims to introduce Drosophila as a model organism for the study of aging. First, the basic biology of Drosophila is described within the context of aging, including its life history, characteristics of aging and physiology, and factors that affect lifespan. Next, various types of experimental approaches that can be used with Drosophila are presented, such as demographic, genetic, and physiological approaches. Lastly, a review of Drosophila studies on aging is presented, with emphasis on major achievements that Drosophila studies have accomplished. They illustrate types of studies particularly suited for flies, and how to combine different experimental approaches into one integrated study. We also raise limitations and technical problems, as well as unsolved problems; such issues are discussed with possible future directions.

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