X-Message-Number: 7691
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 1997 08:18:13 -0800 (PST)
From: Doug Skrecky <>
Subject: drosophilia longevity experiment

   This is the first update on my drosophilia longevity experiments. The
 goal here is to generate information on the effect of various supplements
 on fly life span. Although all the supplements selected had never been
 (to my knowledge) tested on any animal species I subsequently found out
 that oral RNA had been tested in rodents with negative results, in an as
 yet unpublished experiment.
   My experiment had a rather rocky start as I learned "the ropes".
 Originally the milk bottles used to store the flies were plugged with
 cotton. To my amazement I found that a few flies were nonetheless able to
 burrow through the cotton and escape. The cotton plugs were replaced by
 cardboard ones.
   Also I had underestimated their fecundity. Their rapid breeding made
 any census of their population rather difficult. I restarted the
 experiment 21 days ago, including taurine which is a non-toxic larvicide
 in the drosophilia medium formula 4-24 to prevent population growth.
 (Experimental Gerontology 24: 57-65 1989) This eliminated larva in all
 but two of the bottles. It seems that conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and
 RNA partly protect against the larvicidal effects of taurine and
 additional flies did continue hatch in these bottles, albet rather
   The old bottles without taurine were used to provide flies for the new
 ones. The old CLA bottle yielding flies for new CLA bottle, the old RNA
 for the new RNA and so on. The age of the flies is unfortunately
 indeterminate, but most were less than 26 days old when the experiment
 was restarted. Typical average life expectancy for drosophila flies
 stored at room temperature is 70 days so some attrition could be expected
 after a further 21 days. However mortality has remained at zero for three
 bottles and low for a further two. The longevity results after 21 days
 are as follows:

 Supplement    Alive/Dead  Mortality

 Alpha Lipoic      4/5        55%
 Biotin            3/5        62
 CLA*              3/4        57
 Forskolin         9/1        10
 Glutamine         5/0         0
 Lycopene          5/0         0
 NADH              6/1        14
 Pregnenolone      8/0         0
 Pyroglutamic      5/3        38
 RNA*              4/3        43
 Xanthophyll       5/3        38%

 *Note: The number of the original live flies could not be directly
 counted in the CLA and RNA bottles due to additional breeding. Instead
 this number was obtained by substracting the number of fly corpses from
 the original number of flies in the bottles.

   Based on the results obtained thus far it is glutamine, lycopene and
 pregnenolone that seem to have potential for extending fly life span. In
 addition to zero mortality (thus far) the flies in these bottles seem
 more lively than in most of the other bottles. The effect of NADH is a
 question mark. NADH is highly unstable in aqueous solution so I expect
 that most of it has broken down now. I plan on including a more stable
 NADH precussor such as niacinamide in my next series of fly experiments.
   I will continue to monitor the present experiment to see in particular
 how long the flies in the zero mortality bottles live. I expect to start
 a new run testing other supplements before the current experiment is

 Additional Data:
   All the bottles had 2.5% by weight taurine added to the dry drosophilia
 medium to prevent breeding. The next run will have a little more than
 this. The concentration of the various supplements was as follows: alpha
 lipoic acid 2.5%, biotin 0.15%, CLA 2.5%, forskolin 0.5%, glutamine 2.5%,
 lycopene 0.15%, NADH 0.15%, pregnenolone 2.5%, pyroglutamic acid 2.5%,
 RNA 2.5% and xanthophylls 0.15%.

   If anyone else would like to do life span experiments please feel free
 to email me at 

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