Association of single-nucleotide polymorphisms at the Delta locus with genotype by environment interaction for sensory bristle number in drosophila Melanogaster

Genet Res. 2002 Jun;79(3):211-8. doi: 10.1017/s0016672302005621.


The nature of forces maintaining variation for quantitative traits can only be assessed at the level of individual genes affecting variation in the traits. Identification of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with variation in Drosophila sensory bristle number at the Delta (Dl) locus provides us with the opportunity to test a model for the maintenance of variation in bristle number by genotype by environment interaction (GEI). Under this model, genetic variation is maintained at a locus under stabilizing selection if phenotypic values of heterozygotes are more stable than homozygotes across a range of environments, and the mean allelic effect is much smaller than the standard deviation of allelic effects across environments. Homozygotes and heterozygotes for two SNPs at Dl, one affecting sternopleural and the other abdominal bristle number, were reared in five different environments. There was significant GEI for both bristle traits. Neither condition of the model was satisfied for Dl SNPs exhibiting GEI for sternopleural bristle number. Heterozygotes for the abdominal bristle number SNPs were indeed the most stable genotype for two of the three environment pairs exhibiting GEI, but the mean genotypic effect was greater than the standard deviation of effects across environments. Therefore, this mechanism of GEI seems unlikely to be responsible for maintaining the common bristle number polymorphisms at Dl.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / physiology
  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Environment
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable
  • Sense Organs / physiology*


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • delta protein