Old Before Their Time? Aging In Flies Under Natural Vs. Laboratory Conditions

Friday, September 5, 2008 - 15:28 in Biology & Nature

Conventional wisdom suggests that stress accelerates aging -- but is it really true? Evolutionary studies of aging use short-lived animals under laboratory conditions -- constant temperature and humidity, no parasites, superabundant food. Researchers identified individual stilt-legged flies in their harsh natural environments while simultaneously monitoring their cousins in the lab. In males, the rate of aging was as least two times greater in the wild. For both sexes, life in the wild was dramatically shorter. More study of how environment affects gene expression is needed.

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