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Keywords:

  • bristles;
  • fluctuating asymmetry;
  • micro-environmental canalization;
  • morphometry;
  • wings

Developmental stability is the tendency of morphological traits to resist the effects of developmental noise, and is commonly evaluated by examining fluctuating asymmetry (FA)—random deviations from perfect bilateral symmetry. Molecular mechanisms that control FA have been a long-standing topic of debate in the field of evolutionary biology and quantitative genetics. In this study, we mapped genomic regions associated with effects on the mean and FA of morphological traits, and characterized the trait specificity of those regions. A collection of isogenic deficiency strains established by the DrosDel project was used for deficiency mapping of genome regions associated with effects on FA. We screened 435 genome deficiencies or approximately 64.9% of the entire genome of Drosophila melanogaster to map the region that demonstrated a significant effect on FA of morphological traits. We found that 406 deficiencies significantly affected the mean of morphological traits, and 92 deficiencies increased FA. These results suggest that several genomic regions have the potential to affect developmental stability. They also suggest the possibility of the existence of trait-specific and trait-nonspecific mechanisms for stabilizing developmental processes. The new findings in this study could provide insight into the understanding of the genetic architecture underlying developmental stability.