The effects of spontaneous mutation on quantitative traits. II. Dominance of mutations with effects on life-history traits

Genet Res. 1997 Aug;70(1):27-34. doi: 10.1017/s001667239700284x.


We studied the dominance of the effects of chromosomes carrying unselected mutations on five life-history traits in Drosophila melanogaster. Mutations were accumulated on the second chromosome for 44 generations in the absence of natural selection. Traits studied were female fecundity early and late in adult life, male mating ability, and male and female longevity. Homozygous effects were estimated for 50 mutant lines, and heterozygous effects were estimated by crossing these lines in a partial diallel scheme. Direct estimates of dominance showed that the effects of mutants are at least partially recessive. Heterozygotes had higher trait means than homozygotes in all five cases, and these differences were significant for late fecundity and female longevity. For all traits, genetic variance was larger among homozygous crosses than among heterozygous crosses. These results are consistent with those of many other studies that suggest that both unselected mutations and those found segregating in natural populations are partially recessive.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Fertility / genetics
  • Genes, Insect
  • Genetic Variation
  • Longevity / genetics
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable*