Developmental pathways inferred from modularity, morphological integration and fluctuating asymmetry patterns in the human face

Quinto-Sánchez, Mirsha; Muñoz-Muñoz, Francesc; Gomez-Valdes, Jorge; Cintas, Celia; Navarro, Pablo; Cerqueira, Caio Cesar Silva de; Paschetta, Carolina; de Azevedo, Soledad; Ramallo, Virginia; Acuña-Alonzo, Victor; Adhikari, Kaustubh; Fuentes-Guajardo, Macarena; Hünemeier, Tábita; Everardo, Paola; de Avila, Francisco; Jaramillo, Claudia; Arias, Williams; Gallo, Carla; Poletti, Giovani; Bedoya, Gabriel; Bortolini, Maria Cátira; Canizales-Quinteros, Samuel; Rothhammer, Francisco; Rosique, Javier; Ruiz-Linares, Andres and Gonzalez-Jose, Rolando (2018). Developmental pathways inferred from modularity, morphological integration and fluctuating asymmetry patterns in the human face. Scientific Reports, 8, article no. 963.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-19324-y

Abstract

Facial asymmetries are usually measured and interpreted as proxies to developmental noise. However, analyses focused on its developmental and genetic architecture are scarce. To advance on this topic, studies based on a comprehensive and simultaneous analysis of modularity, morphological integration and facial asymmetries including both phenotypic and genomic information are needed. Here we explore several modularity hypotheses on a sample of Latin American mestizos, in order to test if modularity and integration patterns difer across several genomic ancestry backgrounds. To do so, 4104 individuals were analyzed using 3D photogrammetry reconstructions and a set of 34 facial landmarks placed on each individual. We found a pattern of modularity and integration that is conserved across sub-samples difering in their genomic ancestry background. Specifcally, a signal of modularity based on functional demands and organization of the face is regularly observed across the whole sample. Our results shed more light on previous evidence obtained from Genome Wide Association Studies performed on the same samples, indicating the action of diferent genomic regions contributing to the expression of the nose and mouth facial phenotypes. Our results also indicate that large samples including phenotypic and genomic metadata enable a better understanding of the developmental and genetic architecture of craniofacial phenotypes.

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