Physiology of aging and reproduction in invertebrates


Our team studies the regulation of lifespan, or aging. Reduced reproduction and reduced feeding extend lifespans in many organisms, but the physiological mechanisms are poorly understood. Using grasshoppers as a model system, we examine the effects of reproduction and feeding rate on lifespan and longevity.


We have shown that ovariectomy and dietary restriction each involve lowered feeding, reduced reproductive output, and extended lifespan. In contrast, ovariectomy doubles fat body mass and hemolymph volume, while dietary restriction does not change either. Hence, these two means of extending lifespan appear to be the same superficially, but must be acting through different mechanisms physiologically. We seek to characterize these differences to identify the effects of reproduction on lifespan while appropriately controlling for dietary intake. 


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