Obesity and type two diabetes have become widely prevalent and for this reason it is of increasing importance to characterize the physiological toll of excess sugar consumption. Here we used the model organism, Drosophila melanogaster, to perform a genome wide association study (GWAS) for differences in longevity among females fed a high sugar diet. There were highly significant differences in survival among the 205 inbred lines we tested, indicating a genetic basis to survival. The GWAS identified nine genes overall. Three of these genes (headcase, wing blister and rau) affect the proliferation and differentiation of intestinal stem cells (ISCs). Proper ISC production and differentiation into immune progenitor cells is known to affect longevity. A healthy microbiota is also known to influence ISC development and high sugar diets are known to influence microbiomes. Thus, our works suggests a link between high sugar, a healthy microbiome and proper ISC production affecting longevity through allelic differences in the identified genes.
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Stern, Avi; Grossbauer, Charles; Schwartz, Alexa; Vasquez, Brandon; and Colucci, Dave, "Genes Affecting Intestinal Stem Cell Development Influence Longevity in Female Drosophila on a High Sugar Diet" (2022). Research Days Posters 2022. 19.