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Goering, L.M., Gibson, G. (2005). Genetic variation for dorsal-ventral patterning of the Drosophila melanogaster eggshell.  Evol. Dev. 7(2): 81--88.
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Patterning of the insect eggshell is an excellent system for exploring the molecular basis of phenotypic variation. In Drosophila melanogaster, two dorsal-anterior respiratory appendages are produced in response to signaling through the Epidermal growth factor receptor (Egfr). Previous work implicates Egfr pathway function in both intraspecific variation for dorsal appendage spacing (DAS) on the eggshell, as well as interspecific differences in dorsal appendage number and location. To test the hypothesis that genetic variation in Egfr contributes to variation in eggshell patterning, we have made use of naturally occurring intraspecific variation for DAS as a model quantitative trait. We found that there is substantial segregating genetic variation for DAS in D. melanogaster, and have tested for associations with 289 common polymorphisms in the Egfr locus. A marginal association was seen with two polymorphic sites in Egfr; however, we failed to replicate these findings in a second population, or in a modified quantitative complementation test designed to specifically test the effects of the putative polymorphisms. Therefore, we conclude that the polymorphisms we have identified in Egfr do not contribute to variation in DAS, and further work is required to understand the genetic architecture of this trait.

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    Evol. Dev.
    Evolution and Development
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