Quantifying abdominal pigmentation in drosophila melanogaster
journal contributionposted on 03.05.2021, 15:39 authored by OS Ziabari, Alexander ShingletonAlexander Shingleton
Pigmentation is a morphologically simple but highly variable trait that often has adaptive significance. It has served extensively as a model for understanding the development and evolution of morphological phenotypes. Abdominal pigmentation in Drosophila melanogaster has been particularly useful, allowing researchers to identify the loci that underlie inter-and intraspecific variations in morphology. Hitherto, however, D. melanogaster abdominal pigmentation has been largely assayed qualitatively, through scoring, rather than quantitatively, which limits the forms of statistical analysis that can be applied to pigmentation data. This work describes a new methodology that allows for the quantification of various aspects of the abdominal pigmentation pattern of adult D. melanogaster. The protocol includes specimen mounting, image capture, data extraction, and analysis. All the software used for image capture and analysis feature macros written for open-source image analysis. The advantage of this approach is the ability to precisely measure pigmentation traits using a methodology that is highly reproducible across different imaging systems. While the technique has been used to measure variation in the tergal pigmentation patterns of adult D. melanogaster, the methodology is flexible and broadly applicable to pigmentation patterns in myriad different organisms.