The nutritional requirements of Drosophila have mostly been studied for development and reproduction, but the minimal requirements for adult male and female flies for lifespan have not been established. Following development on a complete diet, we find substantial sex difference in the basic nutritional requirement of adult flies for full length of life. Relative to females, males require less of each nutrient, and for some nutrients that are essential for development, adult males have no requirement at all for lifespan. The most extreme (and surprising) sex differences were that chronic cholesterol and vitamin deficiencies had no effect on the lifespan of adult males, but they greatly decreased lifespan in females. Female oogenesis rather than chromosomal karyotype and mating status is the key cause of this gender difference in life-sustaining nutritional requirements. These data are important to the way we understand the mechanisms by which diet modifies lifespan.
- nutritional requirement
- sexual dimorphism