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Genetics. 2002 Dec;162(4):1655-74.

The genetic architecture of Drosophila sensory bristle number.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7614, USA.


We have mapped quantitative trait loci (QTL) for Drosophila mechanosensory bristle number in six recombinant isogenic line (RIL) mapping populations, each of which was derived from an isogenic chromosome extracted from a line selected for high or low, sternopleural or abdominal bristle number and an isogenic wild-type chromosome. All RILs were evaluated as male and female F(1) progeny of crosses to both the selected and the wild-type parental chromosomes at three developmental temperatures (18 degrees, 25 degrees, and 28 degrees ). QTL for bristle number were mapped separately for each chromosome, trait, and environment by linkage to roo transposable element marker loci, using composite interval mapping. A total of 53 QTL were detected, of which 33 affected sternopleural bristle number, 31 affected abdominal bristle number, and 11 affected both traits. The effects of most QTL were conditional on sex (27%), temperature (14%), or both sex and temperature (30%). Epistatic interactions between QTL were also common. While many QTL mapped to the same location as candidate bristle development loci, several QTL regions did not encompass obvious candidate genes. These features are germane to evolutionary models for the maintenance of genetic variation for quantitative traits, but complicate efforts to understand the molecular genetic basis of variation for complex traits.

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