Transgenerational Obesity and Healthy Aging in Drosophila

Tara-Lyn Camilleri Carter, Damian K Dowling, Rebecca Robker, Matthew Piper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Substantial evidence suggests that individuals born to overweight and obese parents suffer detrimental health consequences that dramatically decrease healthy aging. The number of obese individuals worldwide now exceeds the number of under- and malnourished individuals. This obesity epidemic is responsible for approximately 4 million deaths worldwide each year, and predisposes sufferers to a range of age-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, and metabolic syndrome. Additionally, obesity is associated with an accelerated onset of age-related ailments, such as cancers and inflammation. The importance of dietary interventions to reduce the incidence of obesity is magnified by emerging evidence that parental physiology can predispose future generations to poor health outcomes. Characterizing and understanding these effects, and how they are mediated, is important if we are to continue to drive improvements to population health. In this article, we synthesize evidence for the intergenerational and transgenerational phenotypic effects of parental obesity. We concentrate on how the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster can be used as a model to study these effects. Fruit flies are highly tractable, and their conserved nutrient signaling and metabolic pathways make them an ideal model for studying nutritional effects on metabolic, reproductive, and aging phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1582-1589
Number of pages8
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Fecundity
  • Life span
  • Obesity

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