New opportunities: Drosophila as a model system for exercise research

Academic Article


  • Because of the growing rates of obesity in much of the world, exercise as a treatment option for obesity and as part of a healthy lifestyle is of great interest to the general public, health policy makers, and scientists alike. Despite the long history of exercise promotion and exercise research, there are still significant gaps in our understanding of how exercise impacts individuals and what role genetics plays in determining an individual’s response to exercise. Model organisms are positioned uniquely to help address these questions because of the challenges associated with carrying out large-scale, well-controlled studies in humans. The fruit fly model system, Drosophila melanogaster, has joined the models used for exercise research only recently but already has made significant contributions to the field. In this review, we highlight the opportunities for exercise research in Drosophila. We review the resources available to researchers interested in using Drosophila for exercise research, focusing on the existing systems to induce exercise in Drosophila, to measure the amount of exercise performed, and to assess physical fitness. We illustrate the potential of the Drosophila system by drawing attention to pioneering studies in Drosophila exercise research and emphasize the unique opportunities this model system represents.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Watanabe LP; Riddle NC
  • Start Page

  • 482
  • End Page

  • 490
  • Volume

  • 127
  • Issue

  • 2