Lifespan and reproduction in Drosophila: New insights from nutritional geometry

Pum Lee Kwang, Stephen J. Simpson, Fiona J. Clissold, Robert Brooks, J. William O Ballard, Phil W. Taylor, Nazaneen Soran, David Raubenheimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

683 Citations (Scopus)


Modest dietary restriction (DR) prolongs life in a wide range of organisms, spanning single-celled yeast to mammals. Here, we report the use of recent techniques in nutrition research to quantify the detailed relationship between diet, nutrient intake, lifespan, and reproduction in Drosophila melanogaster. Caloric restriction (CR) was not responsible for extending lifespan in our experimental flies. Response surfaces for lifespan and fecundity were maximized at different protein-carbohydrate intakes, with longevity highest at a protein-to-carbohydrate ratio of 1:16 and egg-laying rate maximized at 1:2. Lifetime egg production, the measure closest to fitness, was maximized at an intermediate P:C ratio of 1:4. Flies offered a choice of complementary foods regulated intake to maximize lifetime egg production. The results indicate a role for both direct costs of reproduction and other deleterious consequences of ingesting high levels of protein. We unite a body of apparently conflicting work within a common framework and provide a platform for studying aging in all organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2498-2503
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2008


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