Truncated and mutant forms ofp53 affect life span in Drosophila, nematodes and mice, however the role of wild-type p53 in aging remains unclear. Here conditional over-expression of both wild-type and mutant p53 transgenes indicated that, in adult flies, p53 limits life span in females but favors life span in males. In contrast, during larval development, moderate over-expression of p53 produced both male and female adults with increased life span. Mutations of the endogenous p53 gene also had sex-specific effects on life span under control and stress conditions: null mutation of p53 increased life span in females, and had smaller, more variable effects in males. These developmental stage-specific and sex-specific effects of p53 on adult life span are consistent with a sexual antagonistic pleiotropy model.