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Evolution. 2005 Jul;59(7):1500-9.

A study of canalization and developmental stability in the sternopleural bristle system of Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G5, Canada.


Among the explanations for minimizing the effects of extraneous variation has been canalization and developmental stability. However, there is little agreement as to whether these two processes reflect a common set of mechanisms. This confusion is inflated due to the lack of consensus as to a precise definition of canalization. In this study, canalization in the sternopleural bristle system is used to investigate the relationships between measures of canalization and developmental stability by comparing how a panel of naturally derived lines responds to both genetic and environmental perturbations. No evidence for a common mechanism between the different measures of canalization was observed. Furthermore, a hypothesis regarding a common mechanism for environmental and genetic canalization was tested, and no evidence was found to support it. However, there is evidence for a relationship between at least one form of canalization and developmental stability.

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