The Effects of Royal Jelly on Fitness Traits and Gene Expression in Drosophila melanogaster

Shorter J. R. , Geisz M., Ozsoy E., Magwire M. M. , Carbone M. A. , Mackay T. F. C.

PLOS ONE, vol.10, no.7, 2015 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134612
  • Title of Journal : PLOS ONE


Royal Jelly (RJ) is a product made by honey bee workers and is required for queen differentiation and accompanying changes in queen body size, development time, lifespan and reproductive output relative to workers. Previous studies have reported similar changes in Drosophila melanogaster in response to RJ. Here, we quantified viability, development time, body size, productivity, lifespan and genome wide transcript abundance of D. melanogaster reared on standard culture medium supplemented with increasing concentrations of RJ. We found that lower concentrations of RJ do induce significant differences in body size in both sexes; higher concentrations reduce size, increase mortality, shorten lifespan and reduce productivity. Increased concentrations of RJ also consistently lengthened development time in both sexes. RJ is associated with changes in expression of 1,581 probe sets assessed using Affymetrix Drosophila 2.0 microarrays, which were enriched for genes associated with metabolism and amino acid degradation. The transcriptional changes are consistent with alterations in cellular processes to cope with excess nutrients provided by RJ, including biosynthesis and detoxification, which might contribute to accelerated senescence and reduced lifespan.