Retour au reportage Retour au reportage

© Michael RERA / Aurore COLIBERT / CRI / B2A / CNRS Images



Of flies and men

In both flies and humans, mortality increases with age. This is one of the possible definitions of “ageing”. However, the nature of this phenomenon, as well as its molecular or evolutionary origins, are still the subject of much debate. Both these female "Drosophila melanogaster" have the same chronological age and genotype. However, the life expectancy of the fly on the right is around three days, as compared to over twenty days for the one on the left. The former has reached the Smurf state, a transition identifiable in vivo by means of a blue dye that crosses the intestinal barrier only in individuals that will soon die. These predictive biomarkers for the occurrence of natural death can be used to study the effects of time and of physiological age separately. Will this type of approach enable us one day to predict our own death? This image is one of the winners of the 2022 La preuve par l’image (LPPI) photography competition.

CNRS Institute(s)

Regional office(s)

Scientific topics

CNRS Images,

Our work is guided by the way scientists question the world around them and we translate their research into images to help people to understand the world better and to awaken their curiosity and wonderment.