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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Genetic variation for rate of development in natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster

  • Author(s): Marinkovic, D
  • Ayala, FJ
  • et al.

We have sampled wild chromosomes from two natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster and obtained flies fully homozygous for the second chromosome, the third chromosome, or both, as well as flies heterozygous for one or both wild chromosomes and balancer chromosomes. Rate of embryogenesis (egg laying to larval hatching) and rate of development from egg to adult are measured, by classifying the individuals into fast, intermediate, and slow developmental classes. The experiments indicate that variation for rate of embryogenesis and for rate of egg-to-adult development is plentiful in the natural populations. Various hypotheses are enunciated to account for the small range of phenotypic variation observed in wild-type individuals with respect to the two parameters (embryogenesis and egg-to-adult development) and for the difficulty in changing the mean rates by artificial selection. Appropriate experiments may decide among the hypotheses, helping us to understand the genetic control of rate of ontogenesis, which is an important fitness component. © 1986 Dr W. Junk Publishers.

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