Fluctuating Asymmetry

Abstract

Fluctuating asymmetry refers to small random deviations from perfect symmetry in bilaterally paired structures; it is thought to reflect an organism's ability to cope with genetic and environmental stress during development and its utility as an indicator of such stresses is based on the assumption that perfect symmetry is an a priori expectation for the ideal state of bilateral structures. Fluctuating asymmetry has been used as an indicator of individual quality in studies of natural and sexual selection and as a bioindicator tool for environmental monitoring and conservation biology.

Keywords: conservation; environmental and genetic stress; fitness; heterozygosity; sexual selection

References

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Further Reading

Markow TA (ed) (1994) Developmental Instability: Its Origins and Evolutionary Implications. London: Kluwer Academic.

Møller AP and Swaddle JP (1997) Asymmetry, Developmental Stability and Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Palmer AR (2000) Quasi‐replication and the contract of error: lessons from sex ratios, heritabilities and fluctuating asymmetry. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 31: 441–480.

Polak M (ed.) (2002) Developmental Instability: Causes and Consequences. New York: Oxford University Press.

Zakharov VM and Graham JH (eds.) (1992) Developmental stability in natural populations. Acta zoologica Fennica 191: 1–200.

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How to Cite close
Tomkins, Joseph L, and Kotiaho, Janne S(Mar 2002) Fluctuating Asymmetry. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003741]