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Genetics. 1996 Jun;143(2):829-37.

Spontaneous mutational variances and covariances for fitness-related traits in Drosophila melanogaster.

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  • 1Departmento de Genética, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain.


Starting from a completely homozygous population of Drosophila melanogaster, 176 lines were derived and independently maintained by a single brother-sister mating per generation. Three fitness-related traits were considered (fecundity, egg-to-pupa and pupa-to-adult viabilities). Mutational heritabilities of these traits and genetic correlations between all possible pairs were calculated from the between line divergence (codivergence), after 104-106 generations of mutation accumulation. Mutational heritabilities ranged from 0.60 x 10(-3) to 0.82 x 10(-3) and correlations from -0.11 to 0.25. These values are likely to be underestimates due to selection against deleterious mutations. The distribution of the means of the lines was asymmetric, positive for fecundity and negative for both viability components. The coefficients of asymmetry are also likely to be biased, again due to selection. Extreme lines from the two tails of the distribution were examined in detail. Homozygous line effects were all negative for viability traits but predominantly positive for fecundity, indicating the fixation of mutations with positive effects on the latter. Corresponding heterozygous line effects showed a variable degree of dominance.

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