The hypothesis tested in this study was that single-gene mutations found previously to extend the life span of Drosophila melanogaster could do so consistently in both long-lived y w and standard w (1118) genetic backgrounds. GAL4 drivers were used to express upstream activation sequence (UAS)-responder transgenes globally or in the nervous system. Transgenes associated with oxidative damage prevention (UAS-hSOD1 and UAS-GCLc) or removal (EP-UAS-Atg8a and UAS-dTOR (FRB) ) failed to increase mean life spans in any expression pattern in either genetic background. Flies containing a UAS-EGFP-bMSRA (C) transgene associated with protein repair were found not to exhibit life extension or detectable enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) activity. The presence of UAS-responder transgenes was confirmed by PCR amplification and sequencing at the 5' and 3' end of each insertion. These results cast doubt on the robustness of life extension in flies carrying single-gene mutations and suggest that the effects of all such mutations should be tested independently in multiple genetic backgrounds and laboratory environments.