Previously, we mapped quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting response to short-term selection for abdominal bristle number to seven suggestive regions that contain loci involved in bristle development and/or that have adult bristle number mutant phenotypes, and are thus candidates for bristle number QTL in natural populations. To test the hypothesis that the factors contributing to selection response genetically interact with these candidate loci, high and low chromosomes from selection lines were crossed to chromosomes containing wild-type or mutant alleles at the candidate loci, and the numbers of bristles were recorded in trans heterozygotes. Quantitative failure to complement, detected as a significant selection line*cross effect by analysis of variance, can be interpreted as evidence for allelism or epistasis between the factors on selected chromosomes and the candidate loci. Mutations at some candidate loci (bb, emc, h, Dl, Hairless) showed strong interactions with selected chromosomes, whereas others interacted weakly (ASC, abd, Scr) or not at all (N, mab, E(spl)). These results support the hypothesis that some candidate loci, initially identified through mutations of large effect on bristle number, either harbor or are close members in the same genetic pathway as variants that contribute to standing variation in bristle number.