Date of this Version
Aging may involve free radical accumulation, which causes cell damage. Foods with antioxidant properties, such as blueberries, have been implicated as being able to extend the longevity of an organism. In addition to environmental factors, genetics also plays a role in aging and death.. In Drosophila melanogaster, one of the genes involved in longevity is Indy (I'm not dead yet). Mutations to this gene have demonstrated the ability to increase lifespan. The objective of this experiment was to determine if blueberries added to instant fly food affects mortality rates and Indy gene expression profiles of female D. melanogaster. To do this, D. melanogaster were cultured on media with or without blueberries, mortality curves were tallied, fruit flies were collected for RNA extraction, and analysis of Indy gene expression was conducted by quantitative real time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRTPCR). Survivorship curves showed that females cultured on blueberry containing media lived significantly longer than those on control medium. qRT-PCR analyses revealed multiple differential expression patterns of Indy between treatments and time points. One comparison to note is that at day 25, Indy expression was significantly down· regulated in females cultured on blueberry medium compared to females cultured on control medium. This suggests a possible relationship between gene regulation and lifespan in D. melanogaster females cultured on blueberry containing medium.