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Keywords:

  • Drosophila melanogaster;
  • phenotypic plasticity;
  • chromosome;
  • pleiotropy;
  • epistasis

Abstract

The contributions of each chromosome to the traits thorax size and plasticity of thorax size as affected by temperature in Drosophila melanogaster were measured. A composite stock was created from lines previously subjected to selection on thorax size or plasticity of thorax size. A chromosome extraction was performed against a uniform background lacking genetic variation, provided by a stock of marked balancer flies. With regard to amount of plasticity, chromosome I and the balancer stock showed no plasticity, the composite stock showed the greatest plasticity, and chromosomes II and III were intermediate. Chromosome I showed significant genetic variation for thorax size at both 19° C and 25° C, but not for plasticity, while chromosome II showed significant genetic variation for plasticity, but not for thorax size. Chromosome III showed significant genetic variation for both thorax size and plasticity. We tested the predictions of three models of the genetic basis of phenotypic plasticity: overdominance, pleiotropy, and epistasis. The results support the epistasis model, in agreement with earlier work. The amount of developmental noise was correlated with phenotypic plasticity at 25° C, in agreement with earlier work. A negative correlation was found at 19° C for chromosome II, contrary to earlier work.