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Fluctuating Asymmetry As a Possible Measure of Developmental Homeostasis in Humans: A Review

G. LIVSHITS and E. KOBYLIANSKY
Human Biology
Vol. 63, No. 4 (August 1991), pp. 441-466
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41464192
Page Count: 26
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Fluctuating Asymmetry As a Possible Measure of Developmental Homeostasis in Humans: A Review
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Abstract

We investigate three hypotheses related to fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of bilateral morphologic traits in humans: (1) the magnitude of FA in individuals suffering from different levels of morbidity is significantly elevated compared with FA in healthy control subjects, (2) FA is negatively correlated with an individual's heterozygosity, and (3) phenotypic variance of FA may have a significant genetic component (or at least a family resemblance). Our experimental data and the literature support the first hypothesis and indicate that individuals who suffer from chromosomal or polygenic morbidity and from anomalies or conditions of development with still unknown genetic components demonstrate an elevated FA of various structures. The literature regarding the second hypothesis is sparse but is generally in agreement with it, although some exceptions exist. A study of correlations of phenotypic scores of FA between family members of nuclear families in two independent samples has shown that FA variance in individual traits probably does not have any significant genetic component. However, phenotypic variance of the mean estimate of FA over 8 traits showed significant additive and nonadditive (dominance) genetic components, each about 0.30.

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