Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fruit flies with better sex lives live longer

Date:
November 28, 2013
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
Sex may in fact be one of the secrets to good health, youth and a longer life – at least for fruit flies – suggests a new study. Sexually frustrated fruit flies in this lab lived shorter lives.

Fruit flies in the Pletcher lab at U-M. The female's pheromones will have significant effects on the male’s lifespan and health.
Credit: U-M Health System

Sex may in fact be one of the secrets to good health, youth and a longer life -- at least for fruit flies -- suggests a new University of Michigan study that appears in the journal Science.

Related Articles


Male fruit flies that perceived sexual pheromones of their female counterparts -- without the opportunity to mate -- experienced rapid decreases in fat stores, resistance to starvation and more stress. The sexually frustrated flies lived shorter lives.

Mating, on the other hand, partially reversed the negative effects on health and aging.

"Our findings give us a better understanding about how sensory perception and physiological state are integrated in the brain to affect long-term health and lifespan," says senior author Scott D. Pletcher, Ph.D, professor in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the U-M Medical School and research professor at the U-M Geriatrics Center.

"The cutting-edge genetics and neurobiology used in this research suggests to us that for fruit flies at least, it may not be a myth that sexual frustration is a health issue. Expecting sex without any sexual reward was detrimental to their health and cut their lives short."

U-M scientists used sensory manipulations to give the common male fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, the perception that they were in a sexually rich environment by exposing them to genetically engineered males that produced female pheromones. They were also able to manipulate the specific neurons responsible for pheromone perception as well as parts of the brain linked to sexual reward (secreting a group of compounds associated with anxiety and sex drive).

"These data may provide the first direct evidence that aging and physiology are influenced by how the brain processes expectations and rewards," Pletcher says. "In this case, sexual rewards specifically promoted healthy aging."

Fruit flies have been a powerful tool for studying aging because they live on average 60 days yet many of the discoveries in flies have proven effective in longer-lived animals, such as mice.

For decades, one of the most powerful ways to slow aging in different species was by limiting their food intake. In a previous study, Pletcher and his colleagues found that the smell of food alone was enough to speed up aging, offering new context for how dietary restriction works.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Scott D. Pletcher, Ph.D et al. Drosophila lifespan and physiology are modulated by sexual perception and reward. Science, November 2013

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Fruit flies with better sex lives live longer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131128141258.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2013, November 28). Fruit flies with better sex lives live longer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131128141258.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Fruit flies with better sex lives live longer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131128141258.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lion Makes Surprise Comeback in Gabon

Lion Makes Surprise Comeback in Gabon

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The noble lion has made a comeback in southeast Gabon, after disappearing for years, according to US wildlife organisation Panthera, which recently took live video footage of a male. Duration: 00:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone have been busy fighting the menace created by the deadly Ebola virus, but illicit drug lords have taken advantage of the situation to advance the drug trade. Duration: 01:12 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tracking This Warbler's 'Extraordinary' Transoceanic Flight

Tracking This Warbler's 'Extraordinary' Transoceanic Flight

Newsy (Apr. 1, 2015) The blackpoll warbler makes one of the longest nonstop flights in the animal kingdom: three days straight for some 1,500 miles. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A gorilla comes to the rescue of her sister who fell into a moat in Israel&apos;s Safari zoo. Rough cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins