Genome-wide association study on male genital shape and size in Drosophila melanogaster

Baku Takahara, Kazuo H. Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Male genital morphology of animals with internal fertilization and promiscuous mating systems have been one of the most diverse and rapidly evolving morphological traits. The male genital morphology in general is known to have low phenotypic and genetic variations, but the genetic basis of the male genital variation remains unclear. Drosophila melanogaster and its closely related species are morphologically very similar, but the shapes of the posterior lobe, a cuticular projection on the male genital arch are distinct from each other, representing a model system for studying the genetic basis of male genital morphology. In this study, we used highly inbred whole genome sequenced strains of D. melanogaster to perform genome wide association analysis on posterior lobe morphology. We quantified the outline shape of posterior lobes with Fourier coefficients obtained from elliptic Fourier analysis and performed principal component analysis, and posterior lobe size. The first and second principal components (PC1 and PC2) explained approximately 88% of the total variation of the posterior lobe shape. We then examined the association between the principal component scores and posterior lobe size and 1902142 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). As a result, we obtained 15, 14 and 15 SNPs for PC1, PC2 and posterior lobe size with P-values smaller than 10-5. Based on the location of the SNPs, 13, 13 and six protein coding genes were identified as potential candidates for PC1, PC2 and posterior lobe size, respectively. In addition to the previous findings showing that the intraspecific posterior shape variation are regulated by multiple QTL with strong effects, the present study suggests that the intraspecific variation may be under polygenic regulation with a number of loci with small effects. Further studies are required for investigating whether these candidate genes are responsible for the intraspecific posterior lobe shape variation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0132846
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 16 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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