In order to better understand the genetic basis of some body traits and their correlations in Drosophila, in relation to their developmental history, a biometrical study was performed on three lines selected for short wing (fourth vein) and a control strain.
The correlated response to selection for short wing and four body traits (thorax length and width, scutellar length, head width) and of eight other dimensional wing traits was considered.
The results show a strong correlated response to selection of all wing traits, low correlations for the thorax characters, while head width remains relatively constant. Two groups of wing characters, corresponding to compartments of development, show different levels of covariation with the selected trait, the covariation being greater when the characters included in the same compartment of the selected trait are considered.
The results are discussed in terms of developmental genetics of Drosophila and suggest that quantitative studies may be suitable for studying the rôle of interactions between sets of genes controlling development.