Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) is defined as small random deviations from perfect symmetry in morphological bilateral traits. These subtle departures from identical expression of a trait across an axis of symmetry are commonly interpreted as a measure of developmental instability and is thought to reflect the ability of individuals to cope with genetic and environmental stress (Palmer and Strobeck, 1986). A meta-analysis of 34 studies of 17 species indicates that there is an additive genetic component to FA of morphological traits across the species studied (Møller and Thornhill, 1997). Despite several methodological criticisms to this kind of analysis, there is a general consensus about developmental instability does have an additive genetic component in many characters and populations. Moreover, in an other survey of 77 published reports from 29 species, Møller and Swaddle (1997) found a convincing evidence that inbreeding results in an increase in developmental instability
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 15, , 15.08, 2002
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