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Automated phenotyping indicates pupal size in Drosophila is a highly heritable trait with an apparent polygenic basis

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Reeves,  R. Guy
Research Group Population Genetics, Department Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Tautz,  Diethard
Department Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Reeves, R. G., & Tautz, D. (2017). Automated phenotyping indicates pupal size in Drosophila is a highly heritable trait with an apparent polygenic basis. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 7(4), 1277-1286. doi:10.1534/g3.117.039883.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-7011-D
Abstract
The intense focus on studying human height has done more than any other genetic analysis to advance our understanding of the heritability of highly complex phenotypes. Here, we describe in detail the properties of a previously unexplored trait in Drosophila melanogaster that shares many salient properties with human height. The total length of the pupal case varies between 2.8 and 3.9 mm among natural variants, and we report that it is among the most heritable traits reported in this species. We have developed a simple semiautomatic phenotyping system with which a single operator can reliably score >5000 individuals in a day. The precision of the automated system is 0.042 mm (± 0.030 SD). All phenotyped individuals are available to be mated in subsequent generations or uniquely archived for future molecular work. We report both broad sense and narrow sense heritability estimates for two biologically distinct data sets. Narrow sense heritability (h(2)) ranged from 0.44 to 0.50, and broad sense heritability (H(2)) ranged from 0.58 to 0.61. We present results for mapping the trait in 195 recombinant inbred lines, which suggests that there are no loci with >10% effect size in this panel. We propose that pupal size genetics in Drosophila could represent a model complex trait amenable to deep genetic dissection using the automated system described.