Drosophila as a Model for Starvation: Evolution, Physiology, and Genetics

  • Allen G. Gibbs
  • Lauren A. Reynolds


Fruit flies of the genus Drosophila have become an important model for energy storage and metabolism at multiple levels of organization. Drosophila species differ substantially in their abilities to survive without food, and many species exhibit latitudinal clines in energy storage and starvation resistance. Variation in starvation resistance can also be generated using experimental evolution, by subjecting populations to starvation selection. Physiological analyses of starvation-selected flies reveal that the entire life history of the animal is affected, particularly larval traits associated with growth and energy storage. As adults, these animals contain large lipid stores, but at the cost of reduced fecundity. The genetic toolkit available for Drosophila melanogaster has also allowed researchers to identify the molecular basis for how energy is stored and distributed to tissues that need it. Insulin signaling and other pathways can be manipulated in tissue- and temporal-specific ways that are revealing fundamental energy regulatory mechanisms common to all animals.


Nurse Cell Drosophila Species Germline Stem Cell Lower Metabolic Rate Starvation Resistance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Marshall McCue for inviting us to represent invertebrate starvation in this volume. Our starvation-related research and manuscript preparation was supported by National Science Foundation award IOS-0719591 to D.K. Hoshizaki and A.G. Gibbs. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life SciencesUniversity of NevadaLas VegasUSA

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