Sci. STKE, 27 February 2007
Medicine Smelling Their Way to an Early Grave
Katrina L. Kelner
Science, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA
When animals are reared on a near-starvation diet, they live much longer than those that eat freely. Even the fruit fly Drosophila has this reaction to a low-glucose diet and lives considerable longer on a 5% than on a 15% sugar-yeast diet. This effect of dietary restriction is easily reversed when flies consume more food. Libert et al. report a less expected effect: Just the smell of the flies food (yeast) can inhibit some of the effects of dietary restriction and shorten the flies life span by 6 to 18%. Flies lacking an essential part of their odor receptors, which have greatly impaired senses of smell, live longer than flies with intact odor sensation.
Citation: K. L. Kelner, Smelling Their Way to an Early Grave. Sci. STKE 2007, tw71 (2007).
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