Multidimensional analysis of Drosophila wing variation in Evolution Canyon

Vincent Debat, Raphael Cornette, Abraham B. Korol, Eviatar Nevo, David Soulet, Jean R. David

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Environmental stress has been suggested to be a major evolutionary force, both through inducing strong selection and because of its direct impact on developmental buffering processes that alter the evolvability of organisms. In particular, temperature has attracted much attention because of its importance as an ecological feature and the relative ease with which it can be experimentally manipulated in the lab. Evolution Canyon, Lower Nahal Oren, Israel, is a well studied natural site where ecological parameters are suspected to drive evolutionary differentiation. In this study, using Drosophila melanogaster isofemale lines derived from wild flies collected on both slopes of the canyon, we investigated the effect of developmental temperature upon the different components of phenotypic variation of a complex trait: the wing. Combining geometric and traditional morphometrics, we find only limited evidence for a differentiation among slopes. Investigating simultaneously phenotypic plasticity, genetic variation among isofemale lines, variation among individuals and fluctuating asymmetry, we could not identify a consistent effect of the stressful conditions encountered on the south facing slope. The prevailing structuring effect is that of the experimentally manipulated temperature which clearly influences wing mean size and shape. Variability, in contrast, is not consistently affected by temperature. Finally, we investigated the specific relationship between individual variation and fluctuating asymmetry. Using metric multi-dimensional scaling we show that the related patterns of wing shape variation are not identical, supporting the view that the underlying developmental processes are to a certain extent different.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-419
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Canalization
  • Developmental stability
  • Drosophila wing
  • Environmental stress
  • Fluctuating asymmetry
  • Geometric morphometrics
  • Phenotypic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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