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Genetics. 1996 Apr;142(4):1129-45.

Genetic analysis of a morphological shape difference in the male genitalia of Drosophila simulans and D. mauritiana.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA.


Two closely related species of Drosophila, D. simulans and D. mauritiana, differ markedly in morphology of the posterior lobe of the male genital arch. Both size and shape aspects of lobe variation can be quantified by a morphometric descriptor based on elliptical Fourier and principal components analyses. The genetic architecture of this quantitative trait (PC1) was investigated by hybridizing inbred lines to produce two backcross populations approximately 200 individuals each, which were analyzed jointly by a composite interval mapping procedure with the aid of 18 marker loci. The parental lines show a large difference in PC1 (30.4 environmental standard deviations), and the markers account for > 80% of the phenotypic variation in backcross populations. Eight of 15 intervals analyzed show convincing evidence of quantitative trait loci (QTL), and the range of estimated QTL effects is 5.7-15.9% of the parental difference (1.7-4.8 environmental standard deviations). These estimates may represent the joint effects of multiple QTL within a single interval (which averaged 23 cM in length). Although there is some evidence of partial dominance of mauritiana alleles and for epistasis, the pattern of inheritance is largely additive.

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