• Amir Yassin

      Articles written in Journal of Genetics

    • Mesosternal bristle number in a cosmopolitan drosophilid: an X-linked variable trait independent of sternopleural bristles

      Amir Yassin Amira Y. Abou-Youssef Blanche Bitner-Mathe Pierre Capy Jean R. David

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      Mesosternal (MS) bristles in Drosophila are a pair of machrochaetae found at the sternal end of the sternopleural (STP) microchaetae, and are thought to be invariable. In a closely related drosophilid genus, Zaprionus, their number is four and, in contrast to Drosophila, they show interspecific and intraspecific variability. The genetic basis of MS bristle number variability was studied in Z. indianus, the only cosmopolitan species of the genus. The trait responded rapidly to selection and two lines were obtained, one lacking any bristles (0-0) and the other bearing the normal phenotype (2-2). Other symmetrical phenotypes, (1-1) and (3-3), could also be selected for, but with lesser success. By contrast, STP bristle number did not vary significantly between the two lines (0-0) and (2-2), revealing its genetic independence from MS bristle number. Reciprocal crosses between these two lines showed that MS bristle number is mainly influenced by a major gene on the X chromosome (i.e. F1 males always resembled their mothers) with codominant expression (i.e. heterozygous F1 females harboured an average phenotype of 2 bristles). However, trait penetrance was incomplete and backcrosses revealed that this variability was partly due to genetic modifiers, most likely autosomal. The canalization of MS bristle number was investigated under different temperatures, and the increased appearance of abnormal phenotypes mainly occurred at extreme temperatures. There was a bias, however, towards bristle loss, as shown by a liability (developmental map) analysis. Finally, when ancestral and introduced populations were compared, the latter were far less stable, suggesting that genetic bottlenecks may perturb the MS bristle number canalization system. MS bristle number, thus, appears to be an excellent model for investigating developmental canalization at both the quantitative and the molecular level.

    • Thermal phenotypic plasticity of body size in Drosophila melanogaster: sexual dimorphism and genetic correlations

      Jean R. David Amir Yassin Jean-Claude Moreteau Helene Legout Brigitte Moreteau

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      Thirty isofemale lines collected in three different years from the same wild French population were grown at seven different temperatures (12–31°C). Two linear measures, wing and thorax length, were taken on 10 females and 10 males of each line at each temperature, also enabling the calculation of the wing/thorax (W/T) ratio, a shape index related to wing loading. Genetic correlations were calculated using family means. The W–T correlation was independent of temperature and on average, 0.75. For each line, characteristic values of the temperature reaction norm were calculated, i.e. maximum value, temperature of maximum value and curvature. Significant negative correlations were found between curvature and maximum value or temperature of maximum value. Sexual dimorphism was analysed by considering either the correlation between sexes or the female/male ratio. Female–male correlation was on average 0.75 at the within line, within temperature level but increased up to 0.90 when all temperatures were averaged for each line. The female/male ratio was genetically variable among lines but without any temperature effect. For the female/male ratio, heritability (intraclass correlation) was about 0.20 and evolvability (genetic coefficient of variation) close to 1. Although significant, these values are much less than for the traits themselves. Phenotypic plasticity of sexual dimorphism revealed very similar reaction norms for wing and thorax length, i.e. a monotonically increasing sigmoid curve from about 1.11 up to 1.17. This shows that the males are more sensitive to a thermal increase than females. In contrast, the W/T ratio was almost identical in both sexes, with only a very slight temperature effect.

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