Adaptation and constraint in the evolution of Drosophila melanogaster wing shape

Authors


*Author for correspondence (email: a.gilchrist@ucl.ac.uk)

Abstract

SUMMARY We have taken advantage of parallel instances of natural selection on body size in Drosophila melanogaster to investigate constraints and adaptation affecting wing shape. Using recently developed techniques for statistical shape analysis, we have examined variation in wing shape in similar body size clines on three continents. Gender-related shape differences were constant among all populations, suggesting that gender differences represent a developmental constraint on wing shape. In contrast, the underlying shape varied significantly between continents and shape change within each cline (i.e., between small and large body size populations) also varied between continents. Therefore, variation at these two levels presumably results from either drift or natural selection. Functional considerations suggest that shape variation between the continents is unlikely to be adaptive. However, cline-related shape change, which we show has a significant allometric component, may be adaptive. The overall range of wing shape variation, across a large range of wing size, is extremely small, and the possibility that wing shape is subject to stabilizing selection (or canalization) is discussed.

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