Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Restricted accessResearch article

Developmental model of static allometry in holometabolous insects

Alexander W Shingleton

Alexander W Shingleton

Department of Zoology, Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, MI 48824, USA

[email protected]

Google Scholar

Find this author on PubMed

,
Christen K Mirth

Christen K Mirth

Janelia Farm, HHMI19700 Helix Drive, Ashburn, VA 20147, USA

Google Scholar

Find this author on PubMed

and
Peter W Bates

Peter W Bates

Department of Mathematics, Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, MI 48824, USA

Google Scholar

Find this author on PubMed

    The regulation of static allometry is a fundamental developmental process, yet little is understood of the mechanisms that ensure organs scale correctly across a range of body sizes. Recent studies have revealed the physiological and genetic mechanisms that control nutritional variation in the final body and organ size in holometabolous insects. The implications these mechanisms have for the regulation of static allometry is, however, unknown. Here, we formulate a mathematical description of the nutritional control of body and organ size in Drosophila melanogaster and use it to explore how the developmental regulators of size influence static allometry. The model suggests that the slope of nutritional static allometries, the ‘allometric coefficient’, is controlled by the relative sensitivity of an organ's growth rate to changes in nutrition, and the relative duration of development when nutrition affects an organ's final size. The model also predicts that, in order to maintain correct scaling, sensitivity to changes in nutrition varies among organs, and within organs through time. We present experimental data that support these predictions. By revealing how specific physiological and genetic regulators of size influence allometry, the model serves to identify developmental processes upon which evolution may act to alter scaling relationships.

    References