Next Article in Journal
The Method of Linear Determining Equations to Evolution System and Application for Reaction-Diffusion System with Power Diffusivities
Previous Article in Journal
Continuous Learning Graphical Knowledge Unit for Cluster Identification in High Density Data Sets
Previous Article in Special Issue
Morphometric Asymmetry of Frustule Outlines in the Pennate Diatom Luticola poulickovae (Bacillariophyceae)
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Symmetry 2016, 8(12), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym8120154

Fluctuating Asymmetry of Human Populations: A Review

1
Biology Department, Berry College, Mount Berry, GA 30149, USA
2
Department of Anthropology, Istanbul University, Istanbul 34452, Turkey
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Karl Grammer
Received: 23 September 2016 / Revised: 14 November 2016 / Accepted: 12 December 2016 / Published: 16 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluctuating Asymmetry 2016)
Full-Text   |   PDF [1520 KB, uploaded 16 December 2016]   |  

Abstract

Fluctuating asymmetry, the random deviation from perfect symmetry, is a widely used population-level index of developmental instability, developmental noise, and robustness. It reflects a population’s state of adaptation and genomic coadaptation. Here, we review the literature on fluctuating asymmetry of human populations. The most widely used bilateral traits include skeletal, dental, and facial dimensions; dermatoglyphic patterns and ridge counts; and facial shape. Each trait has its advantages and disadvantages, but results are most robust when multiple traits are combined into a composite index of fluctuating asymmetry (CFA). Both environmental (diet, climate, toxins) and genetic (aneuploidy, heterozygosity, inbreeding) stressors have been linked to population-level variation in fluctuating asymmetry. In general, these stressors increase average fluctuating asymmetry. Nevertheless, there have been many conflicting results, in part because (1) fluctuating asymmetry is a weak signal in a sea of noise; and (2) studies of human fluctuating asymmetry have not always followed best practices. The most serious concerns are insensitive asymmetry indices (correlation coefficient and coefficient of indetermination), inappropriate size scaling, unrecognized mixture distributions, inappropriate corrections for directional asymmetry, failure to use composite indices, and inattention to measurement error. Consequently, it is often difficult (or impossible) to compare results across traits, and across studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: anthropology; dermatoglyphics; developmental defects; developmental noise; evolutionary psychology; facial attractiveness; fluctuating asymmetry; handedness; medicine; sexual selection anthropology; dermatoglyphics; developmental defects; developmental noise; evolutionary psychology; facial attractiveness; fluctuating asymmetry; handedness; medicine; sexual selection
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Graham, J.H.; Özener, B. Fluctuating Asymmetry of Human Populations: A Review. Symmetry 2016, 8, 154.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Symmetry EISSN 2073-8994 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top