Sci Rep 2018 01 17;8(1):963. Epub 2018 Jan 17.
Instituto Patagónico de Ciencias Sociales y Humanas. Centro Nacional Patagónico, CONICET, Puerto Madryn, Argentina.
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 differ 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 differing in their genomic ancestry background. Specifically, 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 different 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.