Chromosomal rearrangements, phenotypic variation and modularity: A case study from a contact zone between house mouse Robertsonian races in Central Italy

Franchini, Paolo, Colangelo, Paolo, Meyer, Axel, & Fruciano, Carmelo (2016) Chromosomal rearrangements, phenotypic variation and modularity: A case study from a contact zone between house mouse Robertsonian races in Central Italy. Ecology and Evolution, 6(5), pp. 1353-1362.

View at publisher (open access)


The Western European house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus, is well-known for the high frequency of Robertsonian fusions that have rapidly produced more than 50 karyotipic races, making it an ideal model for studying the mechanisms of chromosomal speciation. The mouse mandible is one of the traits studied most intensively to investigate the effect of Robertsonian fusions on phenotypic variation within and between populations. This complex bone structure has also been widely used to study the level of integration between different morphogenetic units. Here, with the aim of testing the effect of different karyotypic assets on the morphology of the mouse mandible and on its level of modularity, we performed morphometric analyses of mice from a contact area between two highly metacentric races in Central Italy. We found no difference in size, while the mandible shape was found to be different between the two Robertsonian races, even after accounting for the genetic relationships among individuals and geographic proximity. Our results support the existence of two modules that indicate a certain degree of evolutionary independence, but no difference in the strength of modularity between chromosomal races. Moreover, the ascending ramus showed more pronounced interpopulation/race phenotypic differences than the alveolar region, an effect that could be associated to their different polygenic architecture. This study suggests that chromosomal rearrangements play a role in the house mouse phenotypic divergence, and that the two modules of the mouse mandible are differentially affected by environmental factors and genetic makeup.

Impact and interest:

1 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™
1 citations in Web of Science®

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

2 since deposited on 22 Mar 2016
2 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 93978
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: geometric morphometrics, chromosomal speciation, modularity, geographic variation, evolution, evolutionary biology
DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1912
ISSN: 2045-7758
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: 2016 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Copyright Statement: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Deposited On: 22 Mar 2016 04:40
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2016 03:09

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page