Gene-diet interactions play a crucial but poorly understood role in susceptibility to obesity. Accordingly, the development of genetically tractable model systems to study the influence of diets in obesity-prone genetic backgrounds is a focus of current research. Here I present a modified synthetic Drosophila diet optimized for timely larval development, a stage dedicated to energy storage. Specifically increasing the levels of individual macronutrients-carbohydrate, lipid, or protein-resulted in markedly different organismal effects. A high-carbohydrate diet adversely affected the timing of development, size, early lifespan and body fat. Strikingly, quadrupling the amount of dietary lipids had none of these effects. Diets rich in protein appeared to be the most beneficial, as larvae developed faster, with no change in size, into long-lived adults. I believe this synthetic diet will significantly facilitate the study of gene-diet interactions in organismal energy balance.
Reis, T. (2016). Effects of synthetic diets enriched in specific nutrients on drosophila development, body fat, and lifespan. PLoS ONE, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0146758