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Symmetry 2010, 2(2), 541-553; doi:10.3390/sym2020541

Fluctuating Asymmetry and Steroid Hormones: A Review

Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, 1315 Kinnear Road, Columbus, OH 43212, USA
Received: 6 January 2010 / Revised: 12 March 2010 / Accepted: 24 March 2010 / Published: 1 April 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers: Symmetry Concepts and Applications)
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Abstract

Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) represents random, minor deviations from perfect symmetry in paired traits. Because the development of the left and right sides of a paired trait is presumably controlled by an identical set of genetic instructions, these small imperfections are considered to reflect genetic and environmental perturbations experienced during ontogeny. The current paper aims to identify possible neuroendocrine mechanisms, namely the actions of steroid hormones that may impact the development of asymmetrical characters as a response to various stressors. In doing so, it provides a review of the published studies on the influences of glucocorticoids, androgens, and estrogens on FA and concomitant changes in other health and fitness indicators. It follows the premise that hormonal measures may provide direct, non-invasive indicators of how individuals cope with adverse life conditions, strengthening the associations between FA and health, fitness, and behavior.
Keywords: developmental instability; prenatal stress; HPA; cortisol; corticosterone; testosterone developmental instability; prenatal stress; HPA; cortisol; corticosterone; testosterone
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Benderlioglu, Z. Fluctuating Asymmetry and Steroid Hormones: A Review. Symmetry 2010, 2, 541-553.

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