Quantitative genetic analysis of natural variation in body size in Drosophila melanogaster

Heredity (Edinb). 2002 Aug;89(2):145-53. doi: 10.1038/sj.hdy.6800121.


Latitudinal, genetic variation in body size is a commonly observed phenomenon in many invertebrate species and is shaped by natural selection. In this study, we use a chromosome substitution and a quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping approach to identify chromosomes and genomic regions associated with adaptive variation in body size in natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster from the extreme ends of clines in South America and Australia. Chromosome substitution revealed the largest effects on chromosome three in both continents, and minor effects on the X and second chromosome. Similarly, QTL analysis of the Australian cline identified QTL with largest effects on the third chromosome, with smaller effects on the second. However, no QTL were found on the X chromosome. We also compared the coincidence of locations of QTL with the locations of five microsatellite loci previously shown to vary clinally in Australia. Permutation tests using both the sum of the LOD scores and the sum distance to nearest QTL peak revealed there were no significant associations between locations of clinal markers and QTL's. The lack of significance may, in part, be due to broad QTL peaks identified in this study. Future studies using higher resolution QTL maps should reveal whether the degree of clinality in microsatellite allele frequencies can be used to identify QTL in traits that vary along an environmental gradient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Constitution / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Inbreeding
  • Male
  • Quantitative Trait Loci