© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. One of the aims of evolutionary developmental biology is to discover the developmental origins of morphological variation. The discipline has mainly focused on qualitative morphological differences (e.g., presence or absence of a structure) between species. Studies addressing subtle, quantitative variation are less common. The Drosophila wing is a model for the study of development and evolution, making it suitable to investigate the developmental mechanisms underlying the subtle quantitative morphological variation observed in nature. Previous reviews have focused on the processes involved in wing differentiation, patterning and growth. Here, we investigate what is known about how the wing achieves its final shape, and what variation in development is capable of generating the variation in wing shape observed in nature. Three major developmental stages need to be considered: larval development, pupariation, and pupal development. The major cellular processes involved in the determination of tissue size and shape are cell proliferation, cell death, oriented cell division and oriented cell intercalation. We review how variation in temporal and spatial distribution of growth and transcription factors affects these cellular mechanisms, which in turn affects wing shape. We then discuss which aspects of the wing morphological variation are predictable on the basis of these mechanisms.
- Developmental systematics
- Drosophila wing morphogenesis
- Evolutionary morphology
- Quantitative development