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J Hered. 2011 Jul-Aug;102(4):448-57. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esr026. Epub 2011 Apr 27.

Genome-wide deficiency mapping of the regions responsible for temporal canalization of the developmental processes of Drosophila melanogaster.

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Research Core for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Okayama University, 3-1-1, Tsushima-naka, Kita-ku, Okayama, 700-8530, Japan.


Developmental processes of organisms are programmed to proceed in a finely regulated manner and finish within a certain period of time depending on the ambient environmental conditions. Therefore, variation in the developmental period under controlled genetic and environmental conditions indicates innate instability of the developmental process. In this study, we aimed to determine whether a molecular machinery exists that regulates the canalization of the developmental period and, if so, to test whether the same mechanism also stabilizes a morphological trait. To search for regions that influence the instability of the developmental period, we conducted genome-wide deficiency mapping with 441 isogenic deficiency strains covering 65.5% of the Drosophila melanogaster genome. We found that 11 independent deficiencies significantly increased the instability of the developmental period and 5 of these also significantly increased the fluctuating asymmetry of wing shape although there was no significant correlation between the instabilities of developmental period and wing shape in general. These results suggest that canalization processes of the developmental period and morphological traits are at least partially independent. Our findings emphasize the potential importance of temporal variation in development as an indicator of developmental stability and canalization and provide a novel perspective for understanding the regulation of phenotypic variability.

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