Sex, mating and repeatability of Drosophila melanogaster longevity

Jessica M. Hoffman, Sophie K. Dudeck, Heather K. Patterson, Steven N. Austad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Costs of reproduction are seemingly ubiquitous across the animal kingdom, and these reproductive costs are generally defined by increased reproduction leading to decreases in other fitness components, often longevity. However, some recent reports question whether reproductive costs exist in every species or population. To provide insight on this issue, we sought to determine the extent to which genetic variation might play a role in one type of reproductive cost - survival - using Drosophila melanogaster. We found, surprisingly, no costs of reproduction nor sex differences in longevity across all 15 genetic backgrounds in two cohorts. We did find significant variation within some genotypes, though these were much smaller than expected. We also observed that small laboratory changes lead to significant changes in longevity within genotypes, suggesting that longevity repeatability in flies may be difficult. We finally compared our results to previously published longevities and found that reproducibility is similar to what we saw in our own laboratory, further suggesting that stochasticity is a strong component of fruit fly lifespan. Overall, our results suggest that there are still large gaps in our knowledge about the effects of sex and mating, as well as genetic background and laboratory conditions on lifespan reproducibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number210273
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Ageing
  • Genetic background
  • Longevity
  • Reproduction
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Sex, mating and repeatability of Drosophila melanogaster longevity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this