Selection on wing allometry in Drosophila melanogaster.
K E Weber


Five bivariate distributions of wing dimensions of Drosophila melanogaster were measured, in flies 1) subjected to four defined environmental regimes during development, 2) taken directly from nature in seven U.S. states, 3) selected in ten populations for change in wing form, and 4) sampled from 21 long inbred wild-type lines. Environmental stresses during development altered both wing size and the ratios of wing dimensions, but regardless of treatment all wing dimensions fell near a common allometric baseline in each bivariate distribution. The wings of wild-caught flies from seven widely separated localities, and of their laboratory-reared offspring, also fell along the same baselines. However, when flies were selected divergently for lateral offset from these developmental baselines, response to selection was rapid in every case. The mean divergence in offset between oppositely selected lines was 14.68 SD of the base population offset, after only 15 generations of selection at 20%. Measurements of 21 isofemale lines, founded from wild-caught flies and maintained in small populations for at least 22 years, showed large reductions in phenotypic variance of offsets within lines, but a large increase in the variance among lines. The variance of means of isofemale lines within collection localities was ten times the variance of means among localities of newly established wild lines. These observations show that much additive genetic variance exists for individual dimensions within the wing, such that bivariate developmental patterns can be changed in any direction by selection or by drift. The relative invariance of the allometric baselines of wing morphology in nature is most easily explained as the result of continuous natural selection around a local optimum of functional design.