Fluctuating asymmetry (FA), defined as random deviation from perfect symmetry, has been used to assay the inability of individuals to buffer their developmental processes from environmental perturbations (i.e., developmental instability). In this study, we aimed to characterize the natural genetic variation in FA of wing shape in Drosophila melanogaster, collected from across the Japanese archipelago. We quantified wing shapes at whole wing and partial wing component levels and evaluated their mean and FA. We also estimated the heritability of the mean and FA of these traits. We found significant natural genetic variation in all the mean wing traits and in FA of one of the partial wing components. Heritability estimates for mean wing shapes were significant in two and four out of five wing traits in males and females, respectively. On the contrary, heritability estimates for FA were low and not significant. This is a novel study of natural genetic variation in FA of wing shape. Our findings suggest that partial wing components behave as distinct units of selection for FA, and local adaptation of the mechanisms to stabilize developmental processes occur in nature.
Natural genetic variation
Research Core for Interdisciplinary Sciences
© The Ecological Society of Japan 2011
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