Response of fluctuating and directional asymmetry to selection on wing shape in Drosophila melanogaster

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Abstract

We tested whether directional selection on an index-based wing character in Drosophila melanogaster affected developmental stability and patterns of directional asymmetry. We selected for both an increase (up selection) and a decrease (down selection) of the index value on the left wing and compared patterns of fluctuating and directional asymmetry in the selection index and other wing traits across selection lines. Changes in fluctuating asymmetry across selection lines were predominantly small, but we observed a tendency for fluctuating asymmetry to decrease in the up-selected lines in both replicates. Because changes in fluctuating asymmetry depended on the direction of selection, and were not related to changes in trait size, these results fail to support existing hypotheses linking directional selection and developmental stability. Selection also produced a pattern of directional asymmetry that was similar in all selected lines whatever the direction of selection. This result may be interpreted as a release of genetic variance in directional asymmetry under selection.

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