The sex-limited effects of mutations in the EGFR and TGF-β signaling pathways on shape and size sexual dimorphism and allometry in the Drosophila wing
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Much of the morphological diversity in nature-including among sexes within a species-is a direct consequence of variation in size and shape. However, disentangling variation in sexual dimorphism for both shape (SShD), size (SSD), and their relationship with one another remains complex. Understanding how genetic variation influences both size and shape together, and how this in turn influences SSD and SShD, is challenging. In this study, we utilize Drosophila wing size and shape as a model system to investigate how mutations influence size and shape as modulated by sex. Previous work has demonstrated that mutations in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling components can influence both wing size and shape. In this study, we re-analyze this data to specifically address how they impact the relationship between size and shape in a sex-specific manner, in turn altering the pattern of sexual dimorphism. While most mutations influence shape overall, only a subset have a genotypic specific effect that influences SShD. Furthermore, while we observe sex-specific patterns of allometric shape variation, the effects of most mutations on allometry tend to be small. We discuss this within the context of using mutational analysis to understand sexual size and shape dimorphism.
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